Sands’ Long Island Casino Plan Draws Ire Of Locals

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Posted on: March 20, 2023, 04:42h. 

Last updated on: March 20, 2023, 05:03h.

Las Vegas Sands’ plan to bring a new casino hotel to Nassau County, NY is facing opposition from locals who believe the venue will do more harm than good.

Sands
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. Las Vegas Sands wants to turn the site into a casino hotel, but some residents are opposed to the idea. (Image: Steven Ryan/AP)

The residents formed the Say No to the Casino Civic Association, which is not politically affiliated, to approach Nassau County policymakers about rejecting the gaming company’s overtures. They also started a petition on Change.org, which as of this writing, has 1,759 signatures. They’re aiming to gather at least 2,500 signatures with the hope that at that point, local news outlets will be more inclined to pick up the story.

This casino will change the character of Nassau County and the surrounding neighborhoods and will lead to an increase in crime, traffic and noise pollution. It will also put a strain on our local law enforcement and governments,” noted the association.

The association isn’t the only Long Island entity voicing opposition to the casino plan. Earlier this year, Hofstra University spoke out against a gaming venue and recently reiterated that view. Likewise, the Garden City Village Board of Trustees believes the plan should be rejected.

Long Island Casino Opposition Not Unusual

Las Vegas Sands is among a cadre of well-known gaming companies vying for three downstate permits in New York. Others include Bally’s, Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International, Resorts World, and Wynn Resorts.

As is the case with seemingly nearly every new casino proposal across the country, Sands is facing some opposition in Long Island — something that’s happening with a variety of the other New York City-area casino pitches, as well. For example, there’s budding dissent against bringing gaming venues to Times Square and the Willets Point area adjacent to Citi Field in Queens.

In January, Sands said it entered into agreements to acquire the long-term leases pertaining to the site that’s home to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Should those transactions be approved, the gaming company would gain control of up to 80 acres, paving the way for it to develop a casino hotel if it is selected as one of the three recipients of new gaming licenses.

LVS CEO Rob Goldstein said in January the project could generate tens of millions of dollars in fresh tax revenue for Long Island, which could allow politicians to evaluate property tax relief. He added a Nassau County casino could be a boost to local businesses and community groups.

Long Island Casino Has Some Support

In a speech earlier this month, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman outlined some of the must-haves for a Long Island casino, including “a luxury hotel and entertainment component; it must bring significant revenue to the county and surrounding areas, including construction and permanent jobs; and third, it must have the support of the community.”

Blakeman previously said that conventions, dining, and entertainment should be the focus of the venue, with gaming being secondary to those endeavors.

Sands’ intent to bid for a New York City-area casino permit was well-known. But the focus on Long Island is more recent and, potentially, prudent. In late 2022, former New York Gov. David Paterson (D), now a senior vice president at the gaming company, said he’d push his employer to consider Long Island.

When New York authorities will announce the winners of the three downstate licenses is the subject of ample speculation. Initially, the belief was it could happen late this year, but recent rumors surfaced indicating the process could drift into 2024 or 2025.

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