Cuomo, Mohawk leaders sign casino pact - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Cuomo, Mohawk leaders sign casino pact

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The St. Regis Mohawk casino will not face competition from the state under a deal announced Tuesday.

The Mohawks operate a state-sanctioned casino on the Akwesasne reservation. But the tribe has withheld $60 million in payments to the state over the last three years in a dispute over the exclusive rights of the casino.

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan for three new state-run casinos in the upstate region has further threatened the Mohawks' exclusivity.

Tuesday, the two sides announced an agreement that will see the tribe make good on its debt to the state.

"The state deems by this agreement that the Mohawks are in good standing and therefore, the region will not be part of the casino game bill that is moving," said Cuomo, D-New York.

"And I commend the governor for having the guts to step up to the plate and say 'let's get this done,'" St. Regis Mohawk Chief Paul Thompson said.

The deal also calls for the state and Mohawks to resolve unrelated disputes involving land claims. Chief Thompson says a shortage of land for housing is the tribe's biggest concern.

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