October 2, 2020
The Shinnecock Indian Nation finally signed an agreement with Tristate Partners and Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment, reigniting decade-old plans to enter New York’s casino gaming industry. According to the tribe’s official statement, the U.S. National Indian Gaming Commission gave their nod to the Tribal Gaming Ordinance, which is in charge of outlining the structure, objectives, and guidelines of the tribe’s gaming initiatives.
The Southampton-based 660-member tribe, operating out of the sovereign territory, for ages has had ambitions to establish casinos in the state to empower the locals and bring financial security through greater tribal employment and revenue development. The 2010 Shinnecock Nation’s Federal recognition gives the tribe exclusive rights to operate class-II gaming, video terminals, and bingo parlors on sovereign lands.
The tribes can also host class-III gaming events like full table gambling on tribal lands or properties leased for tribal welfare at offshore locations. However, the operators must discuss all possibilities with the authorities, forming a formal agreement with the State, before determining the location, services rendered, and a revenue-sharing model.
The State of New York is currently in the middle of a study determining the overall impact and economic feasibility of granting additional casino licenses downstate, following the 2013 Amendment expanding casino gaming. The authorities have already issued a bunch of licenses upstate. Jake’s 58 Hotel and Casino and Aqueduct Raceways’ Resorts World Casino already have electronic table games and video slots machines in place. However, they are yet to gain permission for operating class-III table games at the venue.
According to the Gaming Commission’s spokesperson, a formal decision is pending until the study is complete and reviewed by the authorities. The Shinnecock Council of Trustees, however, made a formal announcement, publicly revealing the partnership with Tristate Partners and Seminole Hard Rock. The statement claims this venture will bring economic growth and development, further bolstering the nation’s inherent sovereignty.
Neither Seminole Hard Rock, nor Tristate, nor the U.S. National Indian Gaming Commission has made any formal announcements yet. The partnership is expected to create thousands of jobs and open up new employment opportunities for Shinnecock Nation tribesmen and New Yorkers in general.
The tribal council, in a statement, asked New Yorkers to step up and work together to fulfill old promises, forgetting past misadventures and mending broken dreams. The statement further urged residents to support the initiative amid troubled times, as socio-economic development is the only way forward for the community as a whole.
This isn’t Shinnecock’s first attempt at setting up casinos in Southampton. The council initially partnered with Detroit-based Gateway Casino and Resorts back in 2010 with plans to open multiple establishments within the next couple of years. The potential list of sites included Queens and Calverton.
Ultimately, the plan failed to bear fruit with both partners moving separate ways. This followed a 97-acre gaming facility in Hampton Bays. However, that property, too, remains undeveloped and isn’t expected to be used as a future gaming venue.
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