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Shinnecock Nation plans to open casino on its Southampton reservation

The Shinnecock Indian Nation is expected to announce

The Shinnecock Indian Nation is expected to announce plans for a casino on its Southampton reservation, according to a media alert. Credit: Ellen Watson

The Shinnecock Indian Nation on Wednesday will announce plans for a casino on its Southampton reservation, according to an alert sent to media outlets Monday.

The tribe is expected to announce a partnership with Jack Morris, principal of Tri State Partners, which has worked on a casino project with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, owner of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino chain, according to the alert.

Newsday in September reported that the three entities had agreed to partner on casino initiatives in the state. Newsday also reported the U.S. National Indian Gaming Commission had approved a Shinnecock tribal gaming ordinance that outlined the structure of future gaming initiatives, including a class II facility on the tribe’s Southampton reservation. Class II gaming generally involves bingo parlors and video lottery terminals.

It would be the second such facility in Suffolk County, after the state permitted a video lottery terminal at Jake’s 58 Hotel & Casino in Islandia to fully open in May 2017.

The Shinnecock Nation, which became a federally recognized tribe in 2010, has made several prior attempts to open a casino. A federal judge in 2007 struck down a Shinnecock effort to open a casino on its Westwoods property in Hampton Bays, citing the potential impact on traffic. The tribe, a decade ago, had worked with local political leaders to open a casino at venues across Long Island, including Belmont Park and Nassau Coliseum, with a Detroit-based partner, Gateway Casino Resorts, but those efforts failed to get off the ground.

The 800-member tribe has been spearheading several efforts to spur economic development beyond its annual powwow, which was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. It recently constructed a second 61-foot digital billboard/monument on Sunrise Highway, with advertising revenue going to the tribe, and it plans to open a gas station/convenience store on tribal land near the signs in the coming year. It has also begun plans for a medical cannabis facility, to be located on its Southampton 900-acre reservation.

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