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May 11, 2011 11:43 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Nassau County To Support Shinnecock Casino At Belmont

May 11, 2011 12:09 PM

Nassau County officials and representatives of the Shinnecock Indian Nation announced on Wednesday morning that the county has dropped plans to have a Shinnecock-owned hotel and casino anchor the redevelopment of the Nassau Coliseum—but the county will throw its support behind a tribe-led development at the Belmont Park racetrack near the Queens border.

Tribal leaders were at a press conference in Nassau on Wednesday morning where Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano unveiled plans to propose a $400 million public referendum to fund the extensive renovation and modernization of the Nassau Coliseum. Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, tribe officials anticipated that Mr. Mangano would endorse a tribe proposal for gaming and possibly a broader development at Belmont.

“The Shinnecock Nation has always made clear that we are ready to partner with communities that want to partner with us, in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, as we pursue economic opportunities for our people that also provide jobs for our neighbors,” Tribal Trustees Chairman Randy King said in a statement on Wednesday. “We welcome the support from Nassau County Executive Mangano and Senators [Dean G. Skelos] and [Jack M. Martins]. We are prepared to discuss siting a facility at Belmont with the state, the local community and all the stakeholders there.”

But Mr. King stressed that while the tribe will continue talks about a gaming facility at Belmont, it has not yet settled on a location as its ultimate goal for opening a casino.

Last month, Mr. Mangano had said that a Shinnecock proposal for a sprawling casino, hotel and convention center was the leading candidate for headlining the redevelopment of the Coliseum property, rather than putting the costs on taxpayers’ shoulders. But on Tuesday he announced that he would pitch a taxpayer-funded plan that would refurbish the stadium and keep the Coliseum as the home of the New York Islanders through 2045.

New York Islanders owner Charles Wang had proposed a sprawling $3 billion residential and commercial development at the property, known as the Lighthouse, but the plan was blocked by objections from local municipalities.

The Shinnecock leader said on Wednesday that Mr. Mangano has now assured the tribe that he will support their plans at Belmont. “They said they would support us if we consider moving to Belmont,” Mr. King said. “Belmont is fine with us—it’s closer to the city market share, it’s on state-owned property and there’s already gaming there.”

Indeed, the Belmont property had been on the tribe’s radar for years and was said to have been one of the sites preferred by the tribe’s financial backer, Michael Malick, a Detroit-based casino investor who has bankrolled the tribe’s long legal battles for nearly nine years, as well as given the tribe hefty sums of money to finance tribal operations, in exchange for a cut of the anticipated profits from a future casino, or casinos.

Industry experts have predicted that a single Shinnecock casino on Long Island, putting it closer to New York City than any other gaming venue, could be expected to ultimately realize more than $1 billion in gaming revenue per year.

The Belmont Park racetrack sits on some 430 acres. It hosts the annual Belmont Stakes horse race, one of the races in the coveted Triple Crown.

Mr. King said specific development plans for the Belmont property would likely not be unveiled for some time, though he would not say whether the tribe had already been working on designs for the site.

“We won’t know until we get there—it’s all evolving as we speak,” he said.

Mr. King said that, at the same time, discussions with Suffolk County officials are ongoing, and that the new focus on Belmont does not take plans for a possible casino development somewhere in Suffolk County off the table. Earlier this month, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy announced that he was in talks with the tribe about a possible development at a county-owned property in Yaphank, known as Legacy Village, for an abandoned residential and commercial development plan at the site.

Other county and local officials have also talked with the tribe about possible developments in Riverhead, Islip and Brookhaven.

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Belmont used to be the shinning star of Race Tracks in the world. It has always held fond memories for me. Take a chance and spend a day there before its too late because once the casino comes in it will be a different story. Just look what they did to Gulfstream Park in South Florida, it is now a Casino that happens to have a Race Track outside.
By Dr Spock (36), Hampton Bays on May 11, 11 12:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
Correct me if i am wrong, but the Shinnecock Indian Nation was only given a licence to operate slot machines- there will be no black jack or hold-em.
By Duckbornandraised (181), Eastport on May 11, 11 1:15 PM
That's how Pennsylvania started,now mount airy and the sands in Bethlehem have table games,it's just a matter of time.
By Dragon26 (1), Floral park on May 12, 11 2:28 PM
New York State allows table games at Indian casinos. The Shinnecock are planning for slots, black jack, craps, keno, and roulette.
By DOC (9), Riverhead on May 11, 11 1:28 PM
I go to a casino on the average of once a month to Conn. or 2 days at a time overnight to Atlantic City. I really doubt that I will go to Belmont. I don't find the L I E an enjoyable car trip compared to a farmland beautiful drive to Orient Point. We leave the driving to A C to the bus company.. Good movies and relaxing reading passes the 4 hr. trip and is great only if one stays overnight. Cheaper than driving and parking and the Casino give one back about $25.00 to play out of the cost ...more
By Carol (109), East Quogue on May 11, 11 2:09 PM
It is illegal to have gambling in NY but federally recognized Native American reservations are not under state jurisdiction, so Shinnecock Indians can have gambling on their reservation in Southampton. So why can they have gambling at Belmont? Or Nassau Coliseum? Last I heard, Belmont is not an Indian reservation.
Amazing that such a vile addiction as gambling (like cigarettes) can be govt supported, and allow gambling off a reservation.. Its all about money. Nothing else. Absolutely no redeeming ...more
By Non-Political (75), Hampton Bays on May 11, 11 3:15 PM
2 members liked this comment
I did not mean to support your post. I go to Mohegan all the time not to gamble but for entertainment a first class meal the shops. conversation at the bars. To show off my beautiful wife at the dance club... lol. We have a blast! Sorry if you Methodists and Bonackers are to uptight to have a good time!
By joe hampton (3229), south hampton on May 11, 11 9:12 PM
For most gambling is entertainment-a fun day or weekend out. NY deserves to have it.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on May 11, 11 5:28 PM
Is Belmont Park part of the newly recognized Shinnecock Nation geographically?
By PBR (4883), Southampton on May 11, 11 6:02 PM
People take a ferry and a bus to go to Foxwoods. It would be easier for gamblers to spend their money on the East End. All the members of the tribe live here. The casino jobs and other spending should be here, too. Why put a casino way out at Belmont? Why not keep the jobs on the East End? Is someone up island calling the shots, again? The benefits to the whole economy here will be worth putting the casino here. The college is shut down (again). Why not put the casino here, on traditionally ...more
By Tree Man (19), Southampton on May 11, 11 7:49 PM
Who wants to go to a mid island dump of a destination. I,ll still go to Mohegan Sun if thats the choice...Thank you very much. Its beautiful there, the casino the golf coarse and the surrounding community. If i want to go to queens Ill go get coffee at laguardia. Barf. Now Gabreski or Calabro that's different ...That would be cool.
By joe hampton (3229), south hampton on May 11, 11 9:05 PM
to Non-Political & PBR:

According to other posters, Federally recognized Indian tribes can locate their casinos anywhere they wish with the approval of the state legislature. They need not be within the bounds of the reservation.
By highhatsize (3791), East Quogue on May 12, 11 7:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
I read it had to be within a 25 mile radius
By joe hampton (3229), south hampton on May 13, 11 9:32 AM
A federally recognized tribe, like the Shinnecocks, can locate a casino anywhere provided that the Governor and the tribe enter into an agreement establishing all of the details of the gaming enterprise, the legislature approves the agreement and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior then approves the agreement.

If the gaming enterprise is to be located on land that is not held in trust for the tribe by the federal government, then the tribe must acquire the land. Either the U.S, can acquire ...more
By tribal gaming expert (2), Levittown on May 12, 11 5:15 PM
Also, assumng the Governor and Legislature are on board, the Shinnecock's will be able to have a full=blown casino, i.e., slots and table games. This will surely significantly undermine the casiino currently in development at the Aqueduct raceway just 5 miles from Belmont.

If this does go forward, watch for the State to not get a decent cut of the casino revenues. When it comes to dealing with tribes, New York rarely acts to protect State interests which means the interests of all of the ...more
By tribal gaming expert (2), Levittown on May 12, 11 5:36 PM
If the Shinnecock tribe picks Belmont or Nassau coliseum or both, they will need a tractor-trailer to take the cash home every day. They are tapping in to the one of the most lucrative areas in the country without any local competition.Have you ever seen a plane that wasn't full leaving for Vegas from New York? Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun will struggle if they open multiple casinos on the island.
By Mets fan (1287), Southampton on May 15, 11 10:01 AM
Im thinking the investors will be doing most of the "money trucking".
By squeaky (288), hampton bays on May 16, 11 10:48 AM
1 member liked this comment
Translation: Mets fan does not want the shinnecocks to put there casino here
By joe hampton (3229), south hampton on May 15, 11 8:12 PM
Your translation is correct. Gambling is dangerous when it is so accessible. There are people who can actually budget their money going to casinos regulary and lose disposable income without any consequences. However, I've played in casinos in Las Vegas(many times), Reno, Arizona,Connecticut, New Jersey, Carribbean etc, there will be a small percentage who will lose their whole life with it. That isn't really the problem. It is people that start going to casinos daily, weekly instead of buying necessities ...more
By Mets fan (1287), Southampton on May 16, 11 12:48 PM
Open the casino here, now, before some other county gets the money. Can't Southampton Town use the money? maybe just like in the old days before corruption, extra money would reduce the tax levy.
By rrc1049 (63), Bridgehampton on May 18, 11 11:15 PM
You know the East End is a combination beach, second home, vacation, world class multi use community. What kind of closed minded, cry baby politician does not want a full blown resort casino marina hotel in the Hamptons? Will someone please tell me what kind of negative economic thinking is going on here? Besides screwing the Indians once again, the obsolete, incompetent and systemically corrupt system of government in the Town of S.H. yet again figured out how to stay broke in perpetuity.
By rrc1049 (63), Bridgehampton on May 21, 11 8:12 PM
You know the East End is a combination beach, second home, vacation, world class multi use community. What kind of closed minded, cry baby politician does not want a full blown resort casino marina hotel in the Hamptons? Will someone please tell me what kind of negative economic thinking is going on here? Besides screwing the Indians once again, the obsolete, incompetent and systemically corrupt system of government in the Town of S.H. yet again figured out how to stay broke in perpetuity.
By rrc1049 (63), Bridgehampton on May 21, 11 8:12 PM
Tourism, local  shopping, dining, Hamptons