The 76,000-square-foot on line casino could be the primary on Shinnecock tribal land


The Hamptons' first casino will include a bingo studio, 1,000 video lottery terminals, and 30 Texas Hold & # 39; em table games, according to officials from the Shinnecock Indian Nation and their partners who plan to announce their business on Wednesday.

The 76,000-square-foot casino would be built on tribal land just off the Montauk Highway, they said.

The proposed Class II gaming facility is expected to be a major economic engine for the Southampton tribe as they seek to improve their self-sufficiency through more employment, expanded tribal government, including a new police force, and side businesses that will grow as a casino venture does.

The casino will be 100% owned by Shinnecock Nation, under an agreement that includes external funding and strategic planning from Tri-State Partners of New Jersey and the Florida Seminole Tribe, owners of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino chain .

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The casino, which already has tribe approval after a majority vote for a new economic redevelopment zone in December, is being built in a section of land off the Montauk Highway in a planned medical cannabis facility. The project was set to work with the state.

Bryan Polite, chairman of the Shinnecock Nation Board of Trustees, said the casino will be a major economic engine for the tribe's more than 800 members, as well as the local community, who will benefit from higher levels of winter traffic.

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The The casino will have on-site and remote parking, said Jack Morris, principal of Tri-State Partners. In a statement, the Seminole tribe said they support "the Shinnecock Nation's efforts to secure the right to open a gaming facility to provide the nation with much-needed economic development."

The Seminole said gambling was "an important tool for the economic development and self-determination of Indian tribes across the country".

The Seminole Tribe has worked with the Shinnecock Nation and Tri-State for over a year, the partners said, helping them obtain necessary approvals from the Department of the Interior and the National Indian Gaming Commission. In addition, the Seminole has "provided the nation with financial and technical assistance, including financial models and drafts."

Politely said the tribe was just waiting for a Gambling Commission environmental impact study approval to begin construction. He said it is expected to start this summer and it would take 12-14 months to complete.

Morris said in an interview that while the first phase of the project will only include Class II games, "there may be other phases of the project in the future," which include hotel rooms and other economic factors.

Currently, the tribe's reservation businesses include smoke and convenience stores, some of which sell groceries and other items. However, there is a plan for a tribal gas station and convenience store on Sunrise Highway near the tribal billboard / memorials.

Politely said that the casino and other projects are all being developed to "make sure the nation can sustain itself". It will help fund a new tribal police force and judicial system, as well as social programs, and make up for the tribal government that has been affected by COVID and the loss of its annual powwow in 2020.

"It will fundamentally change the way of life on Shinnecock," he said.

The Shinnecock tribe are "determined to improve the lives of our people and create some sort of economic boost for the local economy," Polite said. "We are very confident that this project will achieve both goals."

Politely said that "significant" work had already been done, most of it in the pre-planning phase.

The casino does not require a contract or a formal agreement with the state, Polite said that only Class III games with table games require it.

He politely said he expected some locals to have "concerns" with the facility, adding that the tribe and its partners are already conducting traffic studies, surveys and other measures to manage the increased traffic. He said the tribe "operates in a way that benefits not only Shinnecock but the outside community as well."

Morris said the project will involve "a lot of construction", some of which may be done by companies outside the island. Education for tribesmen and others will be a key component of the project, Morris said.

Mark Harrington, a Newsday reporter since 1999, covers energy, wineries, Indian affairs and fisheries.