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Jun 6, 2012 11:07 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Shinnecocks Say Governor Should Talk Casino

Jun 6, 2012 11:53 AM

Governor Mario Cuomo said this week that the Shinnecock Indian Nation will have to wait until after voters in New York State have voted on a proposed amendment to the State Constitution that would legalize a limited number of casino gambling facilities before they can expect to discuss their own casino plans with him.

The governor, in a week when the deal between his office and giant international resort company Genting to develop the anchor casino development of his proposal fell apart, said that talking about the Shinnecock’s plans before the constitutional issue was resolved was pointless, since a Shinnecock casino would have to be considered in the context of as many as seven new casinos that could be possible statewide if the amendment wins approval.

The tribe responded on Tuesday, issuing a statement calling Mr. Cuomo’s claim that a meeting with the tribe was “unrealistic” an unfair misunderstanding of the difference between a tribal casino and private ventures like Genting’s original plans for a $2 billion convention center, hotel and casino near Aqueduct racetrack in Queens—a plan supported by the governor.

“Governor Cuomo needs to understand that we are a tribal nation, not a competitor or a gaming corporation with no community ties, seeking only to enrich itself,” the tribe’s statement said. “It is the inherent right of the Shinnecock Indian Nation to pursue self-sufficiency by engaging in gaming under the National Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. What is ‘unrealistic’ is that we should have to wait two years for the possibility of the legalization of commercial gaming before a meeting of substance occurs with the governor to discuss Indian gaming, while commercial gaming corporations enjoy free access to present their gaming visions.”

The tribe was officially recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2010, a key step in being allowed to operate a gaming operation, irrespective of state laws on gambling. But in order to run the sort of large-volume casino that some experts have estimated could generate $1 billion or more per year in revenues for the tribe if it builds on Long Island, they will need a compact with the governor and State Legislature that lays out ground rules for its operation and revenue sharing with the state. Attorneys for the tribe have been pressing the governor’s office to meet with them since it became evident more than three years ago that the tribe would receive federal recognition under the administration of then Governor David Paterson.

They were critical of the governor for having discussed their future in public—he made his comments about the tribe in a Newsday interview about the Genting proposal—without coming to them privately first.

“Before issuing statements of process through the media that affect each and every one of our tribal members and, ultimately, the citizens of Long Island, the governor of the State of New York should have sat down with the leadership of the Shinnecock Indian Nation and discussed issues as other governors have done,” the tribal statement said. “We continue to expect that he will do so.”

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The Shinnecock Nation has the authority to maintain casino gambling in New York State, it does not need a constitutional amendment. The Nation should not be required to wait for the constitutional amendment process to play out.

The potential compact between the State and the Shinnecock Nation should not be put on hold to satisfy the lobbyists for non-Native American gaming groups both within and without New York State.

By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jun 6, 12 3:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sure have them cheat the goverment out of millions with cigarettes now a casino. Why can't I open a casino? What gives any group in this country more rights than another? I never did anything to a Native American nor is there any Native American alive who had his land stolen. Forget the politically correct bs the whole country is suffering, why do they get the easy way out? They get free schooling, no taxes, and use services of the govt all for free isn't that enough?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 6, 12 7:48 PM
Genocide, and the fact that they were the native inhabitants of this continent?

Other than that...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 6, 12 8:14 PM
Dear Lord! Pick a race or ethnic group and each one will have been persecuted or maligned in some way.... does EVERYONE get compensated??? Hope you have deep pockets! The Geico cavemen will be very pleased..
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Jun 9, 12 8:23 PM
Have you ever heard of "Manifest Destiny"?

We are discussing a group of people whose population has been reduced to approximately 2.9 millon who are of ancestral descent. It is estimated that less than 600,000 "full blood" Native Americans remain in the continental 48 states, and most of those persons are Navajo. They once occupied this entire country from sea to shining sea. For reference, there are roughly 308 million people in this country.

They were here first, brutally ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 9, 12 11:31 PM
Since when is Mario Cuomo governor again?? I really gotta lay off the hooch
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jun 9, 12 7:54 PM
1 member liked this comment