On Monday, Nassau County Legislature provided an important boost for Las Vegas Sands’ pursuit of a downstate license. Members voted 17-1 in favour of granting the lease to the gambling leader, potentially paving its way to launch a world-class casino resort. The legislature cited job creation and economic prosperity for Nassau County as reasons for greenlighting the move.
New York is looking to award three full commercial casino licenses to the downstate region and is already taking bids from interested parties. The process of Request for Applications is led by the Gaming Facility Location Board which will review proposals before transferring the winning ones to the New York State Gaming Commission which will have a final say on the winners.
First Hurdle Cleared
On Monday, County Executive Bruce Blakeman said the vote was the first challenge in bringing a premium entertainment center with a luxury spa and hotel to the area. He said it would bring thousands and jobs and economic benefits to Nassau County. Now, Las Vegas Sands will receive the land currently occupied by Nassau Coliseum to use for its US$4 billion casino project.
Mr. Blakeman projects that the pitched casino property would generate more than US$100 million in annual revenue for the county municipalities and schools. However, he admits that there are still plenty of hurdles in the way. The application must be reviewed by a Community Advisory Committee to determine whether it has enough of local support, then it must be approved by the state.
In a recent meeting of the New York State Gaming Commission, its Chair Brian O’Dwyer commented that any recommended proposal is not going to be rubberstamped by the gaming regulator. He added that the commission will be very careful to make sure that, once more, casinos in the state are operated with the greatest integrity.
Then there is also a legal challenge by Hofstra University, which recently filed a civil complaint that the Nassau County Planning Commission breached the state’s Open Meeting Law by approving a lease. Prior to that, officials said that a casino should not be this close to where students live and study, as its campus is adjacent to the Nassau Hub property.
In addition to that, Las Vegas Sands’ casino bid was also opposed by “Say No to the Casino Civic Association”. The group even organized a rally to try and change the legislature’s mind on Sunday, May 21, 2023. Just before the Monday vote. However, as this week’s results demonstrated the protest was in vain as the county agreed to grant the lease to the gaming operator.
Company Still Optimistic
After Monday’s vote, Sands CEO Robert Goldstein said the approval is an important step in the operator’s efforts to land a full-scale gaming license in New York and develop a world-class hospitality, entertainment, and gaming destination. He also shared the company has over 300 community meetings and is pleased with the widespread coalition it has built with the Long Island neighbours.
Source: Lucas, Grant “Sands NY Casino Lease Gets Approval from Nassau County, But Hurdles Remain” PlayNY, May 23, 2023