Sunday, December 28, 2008

Editorial: give taxpayers a dispassionate report on Casino's pros and cons


Newsday Editorial: A Shinnecock casino? All bets are on

What's the story behind Suffolk County's sudden willingness to take a serious look at the idea of a Shinnecock casino on Long Island?

Let's be honest: The driving force is not contrition over the way Albany has treated the Shinnecock Indian Nation. The State Legislature took most of the tribe's land away in 1859 to make way for the Long Island Rail Road. Though key county legislators are well aware of that sad history, the real bottom line is Suffolk's hunger for increased revenue.

The Shinnecocks are OK with that cold calculus, and so are we. This page has always been hesitant about casino gambling, because it too often sucks money out of the pockets of the poor. And when the Shinnecocks proposed to build a casino in Hampton Bays, at the bottleneck of all traffic bottlenecks, it seemed like a horrendous idea.

So we opposed it, but always with a twinge of sadness, because we saw that the Shinnecocks viewed a casino as the best bet to provide decent jobs for a tribe suffering from far too much unemployment. And we tempered our criticism of the Hampton Bays site with a call for the notoriously slow Bureau of Indian Affairs to act on the tribe's petition for federal recognition.

Actually, the Shinnecocks were on a federal list of recognized tribes for decades, until the middle of the last century. Then some bureaucrat took the tribe off, without an act of Congress or anything resembling due process. That alone entitles them to be on a fast track. But even a 2005 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Platt, saying that the Shinnecocks are a bonafide tribe, has not definitively resolved the issue. Still, there's a growing sense that full federal recognition isn't far off.

That's the background to a conversation between two Suffolk County legislators, Presiding Officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook) and Legis. Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon), chairman of the committee overseeing economic development for the county.

The prospect of a casino bringing in thousands of jobs and millions in revenue appealed to them. They also had a visit from the tribe's lawyer, George Stankevich, and they visited the reservation. In May, Horsley's committee heard from tribal leaders and experts on the positive impact of Indian gaming in Connecticut. The tribe has had a contentious relationship with the Town of Southampton, so its leaders were pleased to have county legislators listening respectfully.

This month, the legislature voted to create a task force to study the feasibility of a casino in Suffolk. The Hampton Bays site is still a bad idea, but if the tribe can either buy or accept a donation of land somewhere else, it can become, in effect, a part of the reservation.

The Shinnecocks want the site to be as close as possible to their home in Southampton, so that members of the tribe can commute easily to jobs at the casino. And the Suffolk legislators obviously want it in Suffolk. But there's also a chance that the best site might turn out to be at Belmont Park racetrack in Elmont.

In any case, the task force should give the Shinnecocks a careful, respectful hearing of their casino plan - and give taxpayers a dispassionate report on its pros and cons. On this issue, it's time for cool analysis to replace heated contention.

No comments:

TVT has welcomed more than 178,000 unique vistors

TVT, founded in December 2006, has averaged more than 20,000 visitors annually. It is produced with the support of scores of individuals from coast-to-coast, each a volunteer citizen activist/jounalist, who review tips and compile the verifiable details and documents that are the hallmark of our content.

Since our first post, more than 178,000 visitors have accessed the details compiled uniquely at TVT.

The citizen activists behind TVT wish to extened a big "THANK YOU" to all those who have provided "tips" -- contributed pictures, documents, link suggestions, leads, reports, insight and comments. Your trust and confidence in TVT has allowed us to create a comprehensive resource that thousands of others -- including bloggers, journalists, Members of Congress and other local citizen activists around the country -- have come to rely upon.

We invite feedback and constructive comment and want you to know you are welcome to do that here in "comments" or by contacting us directly and confidentially via

Google News: Indian Gaming

NEWS: Bay Mills Indian Community & Casino Proposals

NEWS: Shinnecock Indian Nation (Gateway Casino Resorts) Casino Proposals

NY Times: Shinnecock Indian Nation

NEWS: Los Coyotes Indian Tribe

NEWS: Los Coyotes / Barwest Barstow Casino Proposals

NEWS: Michael J. Malik, Sr.

NEWS: Marian Ilitch Mapping Social Networks

Play with the interactive tool here or visit

TIP: Search for multiple entries in the database simultaneously by separating their names with the word and

certainly must reads!

Ilitch has backed loosing sports teams and pizza, but casinos in Detroit? 10.09.06 ● Marian Ilitch #1 on "25 Most Powerful People" to Watch 2006” global gaming business o1.oo.o5 ● My Kingdom for a Casino Forbes 05.08.06 ● Big Lagoon’s casino dream awakens north coast journal 07.28.05 ● Shinnecocks launch legal claim to Hamptons land 06.16.05 ● Ilitch Plans to Expand Casino Empire 07.05.05 ● Ilitch outbids partners 04.14.05 ● Ilitch enmeshed in NY casino dispute 03.20.05 ● Marian Ilitch, high roller 03.20.05 ● MGM Mirage to Decide on Offer for Casino in Detroit 04.16.05 ● Secret deal for MotorCity alleged 02.15.05 ● Los Coyotes get new developer 02.08.05 Detroit casino figure to finance Barstow project 07.07.03 ● Indian Band trying to put casino in Barstow 06.04.03 Pizza matriarch takes on casino roles 10.23.02 ● Vanderbilt gets short straw in negotiations for a casino Lansing Journal 10.06.02 ● Indians aim to drive family from tribe in vicious dispute san diego union tribune 04.09.00 ●Malik owns 2000 Michigan Quarter Horse of the Year 01.01.00 ● Detroit Team to run Michigan’s newest Indian casino 05.23.99 Tiger ties tangle Marian Ilitch 04.29.99 ● Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests 04.25.99 ● Partners’ cash revived election; They say money was crucial to Prop-E 04.25.99 Investors have troubled histories las vegas review journal 04.27.99 ● Investor served probation for domestic assault on 12 year old boy 04.25.99 Can a pair win a jackpot?: local men hope to... 03.17.97

The Verifiable Truth