In 1993, then New York Governor Mario Cuomo and Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter created history by signing a gaming compact forged with the Oneida Indian Nation in hopes of creating a successful economic model.
Today, Halbritter and the Oneida Nation kicked off its 20-year anniversary of the Turning Stone Resort and Casino, which featured a recorded video from Cuomo.
“In the last 20 years, the world seems to me to be coming apart with dissension, with the inability to work together,” Cuomo said. “What the Oneida Nation has done is to give us a lesson in collaboration. It is the magic word – collaboration.”
In the video, Cuomo discusses an era of economic turmoil and divisiveness, while citing OIN’s investments in the Central New York region, specifically Oneida and Madison counties; along with it’s record job creation. Cuomo said, “What we hoped for 20 years ago has become a reality because of collaboration.”
The video was recorded during a meeting in March with Halbritter, who was the Nation’s lead negotiator with the Cuomo administration in 1993. The video and celebration kickoff today was in honor of the Nation’s 4,500 employees.
“As we celebrate the 20 year anniversary of New York's recommitment to this sacred treaty's core precepts, we are thankful to a leader who rose above the petty politics of his time to do what was in the best interest of his state, and honor the laws of this land. Mario Cuomo was a governor who established a firm and permanent friendship between our nations and consistently worked to strengthen that friendship in profound ways,” Halbritter said.
The Oneida Indian Nation has contributed more than $2 billion on builders and vendors, while generating $155 million in income, property and sales tax revenue for the surrounding communities since the compact was signed. The resort and casino alone brings 4.5 million visitors to the area each year for a variety of attractions.
In the casino’s 20 years it has grown to a sprawling 3,400 acres that features four hotels with 709 guest rooms and suites, two spas, five golf courses, conference and meeting space, an event center, 19 restaurants, and more than 120,000 square feet of gaming space.
“Thanks to Governor Cuomo and other leaders who believe in the power of collaboration, the Oneida Indian Nation has been able to strengthen this region in profound ways,” Halbritter said. “The resources that we have contributed to New York’s economy over the last 20 years has been a down payment on our collective future – one that we will continue to make for generations to come right here in Central New York.”
The video of the meeting between Halbritter and Cuomo can be seen here.