The 76,000 square-foot casino would be built just off Montauk Highway on tribal land, a 900-acre reservation on Shinnecock Bay.
The plan was developed by Tri-State Partners of New Jersey. Jack Morris is the managing member.
“A monumental moment for the Shinnecock Indian Nation,” Morris said.
He said the tribe awaits only approval of an environmental impact study from the National Indian Gaming Commission to begin construction.
“Right now, we’re just looking at Class 2, 30 table games. That would be Texas Hold ‘Em and then a thousand bots,” said Bryan Polite, chairman of the Shinnecock Nation Council of Trustees.
A bot is a robot player — no live dealers. There would also be video lottery terminals and a bingo parlor.
The casino will have both on-site and remote parking off the tiny two-lane road.
“Our survival and our livelihood and our way of life can’t wait any longer for a more suitable place,” Polite said.
The reaction in the community has been immediate.
“I think they should have what they deserve, but it just should be put aside in an area where it doesn’t affect the community,” Southampton resident Jeffrey Thompson said.
“I really would hope that they would reconsider this,” Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said.
“Traffic and congestion that where this is not an appropriate site,” East End state Assemblyman Fred Theile said.
When asked what he would say to the residents who are fearful of the chaos and traffic, Polite said, “I would say we care about this land it has been in our possession for almost 10,000 years. We share the concerns to try to be good neighbors and good partners and work with the local municipalities on responsible plans to build these projects.”
After the casino, the Shinnecock Nation will set its sights on a future hotel and beachfront resort and it is also planning for a gas station and convenience store on Sunrise Highway near its 61-foot billboards, in addition to possibly building a cannabis facility on its land.
Proponents say the tribe is worthy and has been wronged.
“They are beautiful, lovely people who live in deplorable conditions,” Morris said. “This is an opportunity for the Shinnecock Indian Nation to live like some of the other people in the Hamptons.”
The tribe hopes to break ground on the casino this summer.