After decades of pursuing the development of a casino, the Shinnecock Indian Nation says it’s finally moving forward with a project.
The 76,000 square foot facility, called Shinnecock Casino Hamptons, will be built on the nation’s territory in Southampton.
The nation received approval from the National Indian Gaming Commission last summer to operate a Class II casino on its East End reservation.
Class II slot machines play like regular slot machines but are based on versions of bingo. Class II casinos are popular with Native American operators because the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 allows native nations to regulate them themselves, unlike Class III casinos which allow a wider range of gaming and from the conclusion of dependent on contracts with the state.
The new facility’s features include a bingo parlor, 1,000 video lottery terminals and 30 Texas Hold’em table games, according to the Shinnecocks.
The Shinnecocks have recruited Tri State Partners to help build and operate the casino. Construction is scheduled to start this summer.
The nation and its development partner are currently in talks with restaurant providers to offer a range of casino food. They’re also investigating “reasonable, right-sized venues” within the casino for entertainment.
The Shinnecocks have been at odds with the state for decades, the dispute over land the nation claims was stolen from its territory.
In 2019, the Shinnecocks erected a 65-foot tall memorial that doubles as a digital billboard on tribal land adjacent to the east lanes of the Sunrise Highway, from which they derive advertising revenue. The nation received much opposition from local governments and the state, which took them to court in an ongoing court case.
“As we have seen with members of Tribal Nations, casinos present an opportunity to rescue our members from adversity,” the Shinnecock Council of Trustees said in a written statement. “Our ancestral lands were taken from us many years ago, and New York State has refused to meet with us over stolen land claims filed over many decades. We have tried to solve these problems for the past decade by proposing to find more suitable locations on Long Island, but have been rebuffed. We waited long enough and decided to continue here on our territory.”
Southampton supervisor Jay Schneiderman said he was against a casino at the proposed site.
“While I respect the sovereignty of the Shinnecock Nation when it comes to development on the reservation, I can’t think of a worse place to build a casino,” Schneiderman said in a written statement. “The Montauk Highway, where the casino is planned, is already congested with traffic in the morning and afternoon. I also have significant concerns about the environmental impact of this site. A large casino at this location would have devastating effects on the region. A more suitable location must be found.”
The Shinnecocks say the casino they just announced may be followed by others on properties across the state.
“It is our intention that this will be the first in a series of casinos that we intend to build in New York,” the trustees said.
Jack Morris, a managing member of Tri State Partners, added that the nation is also exploring several options for additional land acquisitions outside of its territory, potentially including waterfront property and hotel development, which he said “will cover the east end of Long Island is absent. ”
Last year, the Shinnecocks announced plans to build a medicinal cannabis dispensary and adjacent spa on 3 acres of tribal land off the Montauk Highway. As part of the project, there are plans to build a sprawling cultivation and processing facility on another tribal property that will supply the pharmacy.
A Shinnecocks company called Little Beach Harvest is working with Chicago-based Conor Green to develop the vertically integrated cannabis production and retail project, which will cost between $20 million and $40 million, with most of the cost in the United States Construction of cultivation and processing plant flow will be at least 100,000 square meters.