Randy King, the tribal chairman of the Shinnecock Indians, at the site where the tribe plans to start construction of a casino on its reservation in Southampton, N.Y., March 12, 2021. (Johnny Milano/The New York Times) For two decades, the Shinnecock Indian Nation has tried and failed to open a casino near Manhattan in the hope that a gambling hall would be an economic engine to wrest them from poverty and fund social programs.
Now the tribe has its eye on a new location: its home in the Hamptons.
The Shinnecock Hamptons Casino is expected to rise on the tribe’s reservation here on the East End of Long Island as early as 2023.
But some of the tribe’s neighbors are uniting in opposition against placing the casino in this summer getaway known for staid, shingled summer homes owned by wealthy and influential homeowners, who fiercely guard the area’s low-key feel. They regard the casino, which would feature bingo slots and poker, as a distasteful element as unwelcome as franchise restaurants and big box stores — which have been kept out to preserve the area’s character.
Tribal leaders of the Shinnecocks said they have no choice but to build on the reservation and to start construction this summer, in an effort to get a jump on competitors seeking state licenses to build other casinos in or around New York City.
“This is about the preservation of our people,” said Bryan Polite, the tribe’s chairman. “The story of the Shinnecocks is one of struggle and perseverance, […]