In a 101-10 vote, the Shinnecock Indian Nation has approved a pact with Gateway Casino Resorts to build three casinos on Long Island. The tribe has announced the site of one gaming destination: Belmont Park Raceway, reported Newsday on February 4.
The next step involves meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) to discuss a Class III gaming compact. "We need to be heard," trustee Randy King told Newsday. "We should not be shut out of helping our state with jobs and economic development after being here for hundreds and hundreds of years."
Cuomo, who supports non-Indian casino expansion in New York State, opposes the tribe's proposed development at Belmont due to its proximity to the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. Genting New York, an arm of the Malaysia-based international gaming company, operates slot machines at the racetrack, where Genting also plans to finance a $4 billion convention center. Cuomo's goal is to build “the largest convention center in the nation”—a 3.8-million square feet facility at the racetrack, complete with 3,000 hotel rooms, restaurants and a casino.
Belmont and the Aqueduct Racetrack are less than 10 miles apart. "My instinct is it would not make sense to have two [casinos] back-to-back at Aqueduct and Belmont," Cuomo told Newsday in an article publisehd February 2. "My guess is that it would not make sense . . . from a planning point of view."
Beverly Jensen, a tribal spokesperson, contends otherwise. "The idea that the world's largest market can only support one facility at Aqueduct makes no sense," she told Newsday.