NEW YORK (CBS 2/AP) — Blackjack may soon be coming to the Borsht Belt.
CBS 2HD has learned Governor Paterson will announce a deal to open an Indian casino in the Catskills next week.
The Stockbridge-Munsee Indians would build the casino, and pay New York State $100 million a year. A casino would bring jobs to the economically depressed area, and hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the cash-strapped state.
The Catskills used to be a prime vacation spot for New Yorkers, just 90 miles north of the City, but all of the major resort hotels have been torn down.
The idea, however, faces significant federal and legal hurdles and has eluded agreement for more than a decade.
“The Paterson administration is working to reach an agreement with the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, Band of Mohican Indians, the secretary of the interior and a number of local governments to resolve a long-standing land claim,” said Paterson’s acting communications director, Jessica Bassett. “This agreement would clear the way to bringing much needed economic development to Sullivan County.
Several substantial issues would have to be addressed before Paterson could seal a deal by the time he leaves office Dec. 31. For example, the federal government would have to give its approval for an out-of-state tribe to build a casino in New York. The federal government also would have to decide if a tribe should be allowed to build a casino on land it owns, but which isn’t part of a reservation.
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