- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 19, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The Oneida Indians asked a state court to throw out a license recently granted to a rival casino being built in upstate New York, claiming the selection process was riddled with legal errors.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday is the latest move by the Oneidas against the Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County, which is scheduled to open next year about 65 miles west of the tribe’s Turning Stone casino. The lawsuit was filed in a state court in Manhattan against state officials who selected Lago in December for a license along with casinos in Schenectady and the Catskills. It also names Lago’s developers.

The lawsuit alleges a series of capricious acts and errors by the Location Board that made the casino license recommendation accepted last month by the state Gaming Commission. For instance, the board rejected multiple applicants in Orange County north of New York City due to concerns about siphoning, or “cannibalizing,” business from nearby gambling locations, but did not apply that standard to Lago, according to the lawsuit.

“In stark contrast to its treatment of all Orange County applicants, the Location Board utterly disregarded its expressed concerns regarding cannibalization when it evaluated Lago’s application,” according to the lawsuit.

A spokesman for the state commission said he had no comment. A Lago spokesman said the commission acted lawfully and predicted the lawsuit would fail.

“Apparently, the Oneidas have decided they are not going to let the facts get in the way of another expensive and misguided lawsuit,” spokesman Steven Greenberg said. “This is the seventh lawsuit brought against this project - most of which have been largely or completely funded by the Oneidas to preserve their monopoly and ignore New York’s commitment to expand economic opportunity in the Finger Lakes region.”

The Oneidas have been high-profile opponents of Lago, helping fund the court fight of local opponents to the new casino and launching an anti-Lago ad campaign last year. In a prepared statement, the tribe said the lawsuit is simply an attempt to “force the gaming commission to enforce and respect the law that it is responsible for upholding.”

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