On Sunday, May 21, 2023, the “Say No to the Casino Civic Association” organized a rally to protest against Las Vegas Sands’ proposed US$4 billion casino resort in Nassau County, Long Island. The organization was joined by locals who also demonstrated their disapproval of the project before local legislators voted on transferring the land lease for the project to the operator.
New York State is looking for three candidates for the three available downstate commercial gaming licenses who would be ready to pay approximately US$500 million for each. The Request for Applications has already been started by the Gaming Facility Location Board, which will now entertain bids from third-party companies. Winners should be revealed by the year’s end.
Last Chance to Protest
On Sunday, May 21, 2023, “Say No to the Casino Civic Association” along with locals from the area gathered before the Nassau Legislative Building to demonstrate their opposition to the gaming project. This was their last chance to change legislators’ minds before they vote on a proposal that would transfer the lease of the Nassau Hub and Coliseum to the gaming corporation on May 22, 2023.
The demonstrators said that the proposed casino project would have more downsides than positives for the area. Westbury Mayor Peter I. Cavallaro commented that the site should be redeveloped, however, he does not agree that should be revamped to become a casino location. He added that a casino in the region would be the wrong thing to be endorsed for the area.
However, Las Vegas Sands provided a response. Senior VP of Global Communications and Corporate Affairs, Ron Reese claimed the company engaged in over 300 community meetings with locals regarding the project. He explained that the gambling leader has received support from numerous institutions to go ahead with the multi-billion-dollar casino project.
Some of the proponents include Nassau Community College, Long Island University, NAACP New York State Conference, leaders in organized labour, local and regional chambers of commerce including Uniondale Chamber of Commerce and numerous non-profits and small businesses. He noted that the company will continue to speak with all residents and share ideas, while also learning about new ways of being beneficial to the community.
Still a Long Way to Go
However, it should be mentioned that the Nassau County casino is far from official as Las Vegas Sands would need to acquire one of the three licenses. But the competition is stiff, as, for instance, Thor Equities wants to build a casino at Coney Island. However, a potential issue for the company would be to acquire community backing which it lacks.
In addition to that, Caesars Entertainment along with Roc-Nation and SL Green are a strong contender, as they eye a casino in Times Square. Recently, Roc-Nation issued an open letter discussing on the positives of a casino and trying to gain support. Their bid has allegedly committed over US$115 million for diverse theatre programs which would come with daycare for Broadway workers and their families.
Source: “Protest held in Nassau County on $4 billion casino plan for coliseum hub” CBS News, May 21, 2023