AUBURN, N.Y. (AP) _ The Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma plans to build a high-stakes bingo hall on land it recently bought in upstate New York.
The hall will be on 229 acres of land in Aurelius and Montezuma in Cayuga County, not far from Cayuga Lake.
``We plan to build and operate a Class II bingo hall on the property,'' said Jay White Crow, a member of the tribe who has moved into a house on the property. ``We have a contractor ready to go as soon as we get the necessary approvals from the National Indian Gaming Commission and the weather breaks.''
Optimistically, they said, the bingo hall will open in less than a year and employ at least 200 workers.
White Crow, who is helping coordinate plans to build the bingo hall, said he did not expect it to take long to get the necessary gaming commission approval. The tribe already has the required ordinance for the bingo hall it operates in Miami, Okla. That should make getting the permission for the new bingo hall in New York easier and faster.
He said no local or state government approvals are required for a Class II gaming license.
White Crow said he would like to start a dialogue with local government officials about the project, but has not yet scheduled any appearances before a town, village or county governmental body, acknowledging there may be opposition.
Raymond E. Lockwood, chairman of the Cayuga County Legislature, said he has contacted lawyers about options for opposing the bingo hall proposal.
``I'm opposed to any form of gambling that does not pay its fair share of taxes,'' Lockwood said. ``If there is a way to oppose it, I would hope we would pursue that avenue.''
The Seneca-Cayuga Indians, based in Miami, Okla., and the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York sued the state in federal court for the return of their ancestral homeland. They were awarded $247.9 million in damages, an award the state is appealing. Arguments are scheduled to be heard in January in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
The Cayugas of New York are not involved in the bingo hall or land purchase. The Cayugas are not supportive of gaming operations.