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Fed Rejects Indian Casino Plan at Bridgeville

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SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY - The US Secretary of the Interior has denied a proposal from the Stockbridge-Munsees to build a casino at Bridgeville, a small community in the Town of Thompson.

The tribe proposed building a $700 million hotel with 750 rooms and a casino featuring a 150,000 square-foot gaming floor, 3,000 slot machines, and 190 game tables,

In a change of policy the US Interior Department rejected 11 applications from tribes seeking off-reservation casinos. The new policy is based on the commuting distance from a reservation.

"The remote location of the proposed gaming facility may encourage reservation residents to leave the reservation for an extended period to take advantage of the job opportunities created," the department wrote. "The potential departure of a significant number of reservation residents and their families could have serious and far-reaching implications for the remaining tribal community and its continuity as a community."

The Stockbridge Munsee are more than 1,000 miles away in Wisconsin. They belong to the Mohican Nation with ancestral ties to New York where they have sued to reclaim ancestral lands.

Tribal President Robert Chicks is disappointed with the ruling, but said the Stockbridge-Munsee have always preferred a congressional resolution to its New York land claim lawsuit. The tribe has been willing to trade its claim to land in central New York for the rights to build a casino in the Catskills and it is seeking federal legislation to do so.

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