Hofstra Secures Legal Victory to Prevent Nassau County Casino Development

Sports Betting Update – December 14, 2023, 01:13h. 

Sports Betting News – December 14, 2023, 01:13h.

Hofstra University scored a legal victory in its attempts to prevent Nassau County from transferring the lease on Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum to Las Vegas Sands.

Hofstra University Nassau Coliseum Sands casino
The Nassau Coliseum. Hofstra University scored a legal win in its effort to block the county from transferring the Coliseum’s lease to Las Vegas Sands, (Image: Newsday)

A New York appeals court issued the ruling on Wednesday, potentially providing an obstacle to the gaming company’s plans for a $4 billion integrated resort at the Coliseum site.

We are pleased that the courts continue to uphold the public’s rights to transparency and participation in these important decisions regarding the future use of the Nassau Hub,” Adam Schuman, an attorney for Hofstra, said in a statement released earlier today.

Last month, the New York State Supreme Court voided the lease transfer, siding with Hofstra’s claims that the deal violated New York’s open meeting laws. However, that decision was later put on hold.

Ruling Could Hinder Environmental Review

Essential to any new large-scale gaming project are environmental reviews. In the case of Nassau County, the town of Hempstead recently announced it will lead the State Environmental Quality Review Act process for the casino project.

However, the appeals court’s ruling could be a roadblock to Sands’ efforts to alter the zoning regulations for the land on which it’d like to build a casino hotel.

At this point, next steps for the county aren’t clear. Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin told Newsday the town is reviewing the latest court ruling and it doesn’t yet know what the effects of the decision are on the environmental review process.

It’s possible that a lengthy legal battle will prevent the county and the gaming company from being prepared to credibly bid for one the three downstate casino licenses New York regulators could award next year.

How the Nassau County Casino Could Still Happen

While the appeals court’s Wednesday ruling is a thorn in the side of Sands and Nassau County casino backers, further litigation could be avoided by holding public hearings on the casino issue.

Hempstead has already pledged to hold two public comment sessions on Jan. 18. It’s possible the county could leverage those hearings and a more extensive public comment period to appease the courts, but that’s not a guarantee.

Time is also of the essence. New York’s higher courts are facing severe backlogs and that’s particularly true regarding environmental cases, some of which are taking years to be heard.

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