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Federal BIA head will tour proposed Indian casino sites in Sullivan County

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August 3, 2009

MONTICELLO, NY - Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry EchoHawk has accepted an invitation from Congressman Maurice Hinchey to visit Sullivan County this month and tour the proposed sites for Indian casinos. Details of the visit are being worked out.

"Assistant Secretary EchoHawk has agreed to visit Sullivan County where he can see firsthand how off-reservation gaming could benefit the local economy and help to revive the region's tourism and hospitality industry," Hinchey said. "Casino gaming in Sullivan County could provide a real shot in the arm to the area's economy by creating thousands of new jobs, including construction jobs and permanent positions at the facilities."

There are three tribes wanting to build off-reservation casinos in Sullivan.
1. The St. Regis Mohawks have proposed a major casino complex next to the Monticello Casino & Raceway.
2. The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans wants to build in Bridgeville.
3. The Seneca Nation has also proposed building in Bridgeville.

The St. Regis Mohawks and Stockbridge-Munsees have applied to the federal government to take their sites into federal trust, thus making the land sovereign and eligible for gaming. The Senecas have taken a different approach and have asked Congress to place the land into "restricted fee"
status which means similar sovereignty.

The major hurdle is a policy initiated in the Bush Administration to require casinos to be within commuting distance of a reservation. This policy must be rescinded before any of the Sullivan site can be approved.

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