In the race
In the race
New York tribe seeks to operate casino at Aqueduct Racetrack
A group of American Indians seeking federal recognition as a tribe has submitted a plan to the state to build a casino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, N.Y., tribal leaders said.
If plans are approved by federal, state and local authorities, the Shinnecock Indian Nation said it will abandon controversial plans to build a casino on its 800-acre reservation at the East End of Long Island.
The state has issued a request for proposals to operate video lottery terminals at the track in Ozone Park. The tribe wants to build a larger facility with 490,000 square feet of casino space with 350 tables and more than 10,000 slot machines.
Randy King, chairman of the Shinnecock trustees, said the project would generate 22,000 permanent jobs and about $2.1 billion a year in revenues, with about a quarter of that going to the state.
“This proposal is about promoting prosperity, both for our tribe and our state, which has lost an enormous amount in potential revenue to casinos in places like Atlantic City and Connecticut, which are not that far away,” King told the New York Times.
Tom Shields, spokesman for Gateway Casino Resorts, a Michigan company that owns a casino in Detroit and is the Shinnecocks’ partner in the Aqueduct proposal, said it was “a perfect opportunity to suggest to the state of New York that you can do better than just turn Aqueduct into a slot house.”
Casinos are illegal in New York unless they are owned by federally recognized Indian tribes on tribal lands. The Shinnecock project faces long odds as the U.S. Department of Interior, which rules on requests to place land in trust for gambling, has been slow to act on a recent deluge of applications from tribal groups and financial backers. Interior officials have discouraged requests from newly recognized and landless tribes from even filing applications.