Catskills Casino in the Cards for Out-of-State Tribe


Gov. David Paterson is set to approve a compact for an out-of-state tribe to build a mega-casino in the Catskills in upstate New York, just an hour-and-a-half drive from Manhattan, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The agreement between New York State and the Stockbridge-Munsee – a Wisconsin-based band of Mohican Indians, which migrated away from New York in the 1800s – is expected to be announced Monday.

The compact still seeks the federal green light, requiring the Obama Administration to reverse the Bush-era policy against casinos proposed outside of reservations. Working in its favor, the tribe will settle a land claim suit in Madison County in central New York, securing a single acre of land as part of the settlement, reports the New York Times. This state footing along with potential terms to give $15 million a year to Sullivan County and New York State a percentage of the casino’s revenue strengthen the tribe’s approval probability.

The casino — to be developed by the team behind Mohegan Sun in Connecticut — would operate in the town of Thompson in Sullivan County, less than a dozen miles from the Woodstock Festival site. Local support appears strong.

“It would be an economic engine and would revitalize the Sullivan County economy,” David Fanslau, county manager, told the Wall Street Journal.

Reactions from state tribes and competing gambling businesses around the New York City region are presumably less enthusiastic, especially the already suffering Atlantic City casinos. The proposed development would also operate within a couple-hours drive from the Oneida tribe’s Turning Stone Casino in Verona.

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