A Republican lawmaker in the state Senate on Monday called for an economic study on the the coming commercial casinos in New York as the Oneida Indian Nation steps up its pressure campaign to block the licensing of rival Lago Resort and Casino in the Finger Lakes.

Sen. Joe Griffo, who represents the Mohawk Valley where the Oneida Indians own and operate Turning Stone, made the request for the economic study in letters sent to the Department of Labor, the state Gaming Commission and the Empire State Development Corp.

Specifically, Griffo in the letters writes that he is seeking data on jobs in the state’s gaming industry in the present day and two years from now. At the same time, he wants employment figures at all facilities that provide gambling services, including those on American Indian lands.

“I believe the number of jobs impacted by these developments in the gaming industry over time will speak for itself,” Griffo wrote in the letter. “That’s why, in order to honestly evaluate the circumstances surrounding the placement of any new casinos in our state, I am hereby formally requesting that both the New York State Department of Labor and the New York State Empire State Development Corporation provide statistical data on employment numbers concerning the state’s gaming industry – currently, and two years from now. This data should include employment numbers at all facilities involved in gaming and wagering across the state, including facilities on Native American lands.”

The first round of casino construction will see table-top gaming facilities built in Tyre, Schenectady and in Sullivan County after the state gaming facility location board recommended those projects to the state Gaming Commission.

The commission itself, which met today, is yet to formally approve the licenses and may not meet again for the remainder of the year.

The Oneida Indian Nation has in recent weeks pushed back against the construction of the Lago Resort given their concern the casino could hamper their business at Turning Stone. The Oneidas have in recent weeks aired a TV and radio campaign.

Lago itself has pushed back, saying the Oneida Indian Nation is simply concerned with preserving its monopoly on table-top gambling.

Sen Griffo Letter to Gaming Commission 11 23 15 by Nick Reisman