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CITY OFFICIALS CONSIDER ASKING FOR RESTORATION OF LOTTERY SALES

City officials tonight will consider asking the Seneca Nation of Indians and state officials to work toward restoring lottery sales in the city.

"It is in the best interests of the city and its residents to have the lottery games restored," said Council President Brad Whitcomb, the sponsor of the two resolutions.

The lottery machines in the city, most of which is on the Allegany Indian Reservation, were shut down by the state July 9 at the request of the Seneca Nation of Indians.

The Senecas said the gambling is illegal because there is no federal agreement with the tribe for Class 3 gaming, which includes lottery sales, on the reservation.

Under federal law, it is illegal for the state to operate games such as lotteries on reservations without an agreement between New York and the Indians. While lottery sales have taken place for about two decades in Salamanca, Seneca Nation President Michael Schindler in May wrote Gov. Pataki insisting that the lottery games stop.

Two weeks ago, with a flick of a computer switch by a Rhode Island-based contractor that runs the New York State Lottery, machines in seven Salamanca establishments went blank.

The seven outlets did about $500,000 a year in lottery sales, according to a state lottery spokesman.

The Pataki administration's order that all lottery sales end in the City of Salamanca cost the state as well as local businesses thousands of dollars a day in lost sales.

In his resolution directed to the Seneca Nation, Whitcomb asks the Senecas "to take whatever steps are required to allow the resumption of the lottery sales in the city."

He said many of the businesses being hurt the most financially by the removal of the games are the businesses that supported the Senecas in their gasoline and cigarette sales-tax dispute with Pataki in April and May.

The other resolution is directed to Rep. Amo Houghton Jr., R-Corning; state Sen. Jess J. Present, R-Bemus Point, and Assemblywoman Patricia K. McGee, R-Franklinville.

It states that "the resumption of the sale of state lottery games by those businesses which had lawful contracts with the state for the sales is in the best interests of the public welfare of the city."

"I didn't like how it was done," Whitcomb said. "I feel it was something the Senecas put out there in their tax discussions with the state, and then it happened.

"I see it (discontinuing lottery sales) as a big deal, and I don't want to tell the Senecas to allow Class 3 gaming. (But) some of the money goes back to education, so their children and ours already benefit."

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