Las Vegas Sands is already facing opposition, albeit modest, to its recently revealed proposal to turn Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY into a casino-hotel.
The gaming company announced that plan on Thursday and the following day, a small number of protestors gathered outside the arena. The Nostrand Gardens Civic Association, which organized the gathering, said it’s concerned about a potential increase in crime tied to a casino and the environmental impact of the project.
It (gaming) only promotes psychological addictions,” said Pearl Jacobs of the Nostrand Gardens Civic Association in an interview with ABC7 New York. “It’s a traffic nightmare, and a pollution and environmental nightmare.”
Sands is vying for one of three downstate casino permits that will be awarded by New York regulators, but the competition is widely viewed as for one license because the slots-only venues of Empire City in Yonkers and Resorts World New York in Queens are tipped to be approved to transition to traditional casinos, commanding two of permits in the process.
Opposition Mounting to New York Casinos
In recent months, a variety of plans emerged for new casino projects in the New York City area and most have drawn some opposition from local residents. So it was probably just a matter of time before Sands faced a similar situation on Long Island.
New York Mets owner Steve Cohen wants to bring a gaming venue to an undeveloped plot of land near Citi Field and civic groups in that borough aren’t keen on that plan. In one of the most widely opposed New York casino efforts, Caesars Entertainment and real estate developer SL Green want to bring an integrated resort to Times Square.
The effects of opposition to the various proposals could play out over time, but in the case of Sands and the Nassau Coliseum, the gaming company said the project would create 12,000 construction and 5,000 permanent roles in the venue. Data points like those could compel Nassau County locals to warm to the idea.
Companies selected for the trio of downstate permits will be required to commit at least $500 million to project expenditures, while paying the same amount to the state in fees and related costs.
Sands New York Casino Plan Is Viable
Former New York Gov. David Paterson (D), now a senior vice president at the gaming company, is the architect of the Long Island casino idea and it’s one that could pay dividends for Sands. The proposal steers clear of the specter of driving traffic congestion in Manhattan and Nassau County is a short drive from New York’s major airports.
Additionally, Nassau County is one New York’s most densely populated regions after New York City. Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman (R) said it’s imperative the county at least listen to the proposal.
He will appoint one of the five members of the Community Advisory Committee, which is tasked with evaluating Nassau County casino pitches. Blakeman said earlier this month that his preference is that an integrated resort in the county be mostly a dining and entertainment venue with gaming being “ancillary” to other offerings.
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