The

proposalNassau County Executive Edward Mangano's administration is in early talks with the Shinnecock Nation to consider building a casino alongside a revamped arena for the New York Islanders in Hempstead. Mangano envisions an "entertainment-sports resort" on the 77-acre Nassau Coliseum site that would also include a minor-league baseball stadium, a convention center, new hotels and the casino.

The

benefitsThe casino would bring revenue to Nassau, which faces a $286-million deficit next year, and might also reduce property taxes. It would create jobs, attract thousands of tourists and gamblers, and help revitalize the aging Coliseum area.

The

drawbacksThe casino would generate substantial vehicle traffic in an area already congested during rush hours. Some Hofstra University officials worry about new establishments offering alcohol so close to the school. Others worry about the negative social effects of gambling. Homeowner civic groups have already given the idea a big thumbs down. The casino could also kill off the Lighthouse Project proposed by Islanders owner Charles Wang, who met with Mangano Thursday.

The

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obstaclesErecting a casino on the Coliseum property is not a sure or quick deal. The Shinnecocks must obtain special permission from the federal government to build a casino off its reservation. Such permissions are rarely granted, and can take years to decide.

Federal officials do not want tribes "reservation shopping" - asking to build a casino near major cities such as Miami or Los Angeles, even though their actual reservations are hundreds of miles away. The tribe has no historical ties to the Coliseum site or other proposed areas including Belmont Park racetrack or the EPCAL site in Calverton in Suffolk County. But the Shinnecocks hope to leverage five separate land claims encompassing more than 3,600 acres, mostly in Southampton, to negotiate for the "land-trust agreement" needed for an off-reservation casino.

Beyond federal approval, the Shinnecocks would also need to negotiate a compact with the State of New York to stipulate how revenue from the casino would be shared with the state, and which locations are most suitable for a casino.

The

outlook

It took the Shinnecocks three decades to obtain federal recognition as a tribe, which is expected to be finalized in July. Winning approval for an off-reservation casino probably would not take as long, but it would still be a complicated process. However, the tribe could almost immediately open a Class Two casino on its reservation that would be limited to video lottery terminals. That requires no special approvals.