Blog: Shinnecock Nation eyes ultimate prize

"After decades of running a legal and bureaucratic gauntlet, the Shinnecock Indian Nation is set to claim their ultimate prize: opening a Suffolk County casino.

And with it happening in as little as two years, the Legislature has taken notice, forming a “Gaming Task Force” to review potential sites.

The Shinnecock tribe has been making preparations as well. In the past two years, it has paid $260,000 to Florida-based Akerman Senterfitt, a national law firm, to represent its interests in Washington.

Even though the tribe has been recognized as a sovereign Indian nation by the state and a federal judge, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has been sitting on the Shinnecock’s petition for federal recognition since 1978.Without the B.I.A.’s blessing, the tribe cannot start taking bets, though the approval looks to be coming this year.

Several reasons have been put forward to explain why the feds have remained idle on the application for so long. A veteran lobbyist who has worked with several Indian tribes said, on the condition of anonymity, that political influence has been brought to bear over the years to keep a casino out of the Hamptons. Others said simple bureaucratic sloth has kept the process in limbo, while still others said the Shinnecock have not fought their corner aggressively or competently enough."

Get the Story:
Casino Long Island: Why the big gamble could pay off (Long Island Business News 5/29)

Another Story:
Many Indian casinos aren't big moneymakers (Newsday 5/30)