Pictured Above: The proposed casino.
The Shinnecock Indian Nation, which last summer received approval from the National Indian Gaming Commission to build a casino, unveiled plans Wednesday for a 76,000-square-foot casino on reservation land on Montauk Highway just west of Southampton.
The tribe is proposing the casino along with investors Tri State Partners, with the assistance of the Seminole Tribe in Florida. To be called Shinnecock Casino Hamptons, it will have 30 Texas Hold ‘Em poker tables, 1,000 video lottery terminals and a Bingo parlor.
The tribe’s approval is for a Class II casino, which, unlike a Class III casino, cannot have games like roulette, blackjack or slot machines.
“Our ancestral lands were taken from us many years ago and New York State has refused to meet with us regarding stolen land claims that were filed over many decades. We have tried to resolve these issues over the last decade by proposing to find more suitable locations on Long Island, but were rebuffed. We have waited long enough and have decided to proceed here on our territory,” said the Shinnecock Council of Trustees in a statement Wednesday.
Shinnecock Tribal Council Chairman Bryan Polite told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Wednesday morning that the casino will provide 300 to 400 jobs and “will have an immediate economic impact for the Shinnecock Nation. It will change our way of life overnight.”
He added that it will allow the tribe to provide more social services for its members, along with utility and police services. The Shinnecock Nation does not collect property taxes, which leaves few resources to provide public services.
“We want to self-sustain our people,” said Mr. Polite.
“Over the past several years we have witnessed the suffering of the Shinnecock Nation and also seen the opportunity to lift their people from the poverty they currently live in,” said Tri State Partner and Managing Member Jack Morris. “This will be a property Long Island residents will enjoy visiting, while enabling the Shinnecock Nation to take advantage of opportunities other members of Native American nations have harnessed.”
The tribe plans to begin construction this summer.
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman was not impressed.
“I am totally opposed to a casino development at the proposed location. Although I respect the sovereignty of the Shinnecock Nation when it comes to development on the reservation property, I cannot think of a worse location to build a casino,” he said. “Montauk Highway, where the casino is being proposed, is already backed up in the morning and in the afternoon with traffic. I also have significant concerns regarding the environmental sensitivity of this location. A large gaming facility at this location would have devastating impacts on the region. A more appropriate site must be found.”