Long Island Casino: Sands’ Proposed Site in Legal Limbo as Lease Transfer Battle Heads to Appeals

Las Vegas Sands (LVS) hasn’t yet had a chance to file a formal request with the state to gain one of three available downstate New York retail casino licenses. In the meantime, its ability to lease the land for its $4 billion to $5 billion resort is in question.

LVS plans to use land that now houses the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. However, the land’s owner is now in the appellate stage of a court battle defending the necessary lease transfer.

The officials who granted LVS the lease transfer are scheduled to appear at a court hearing on Nov. 21. They’re appealing a Nov. 9 decision by Nassau Supreme Court Justice Sarika Kapoor to annul the lease transfer.

However, the parties appealing Kapoor’s decision to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Second Judicial Department, don’t include LVS.

Appellants to the Hofstra University vs. Nassau County Planning Commission decision are the following entities:

  • Nassau County Planning Commission
  • Nassau County Planning Department
  • Nassau County Real Estate Planning and Development Department
  • Nassau County Attorney’s Office
  • Nassau County Legislature
  • Nassau County

Sands Casino Opposition

In addition to Hofstra, the Say NO to the Casino Civic Association is an organization actively opposed to the proposed casino. On Thursday, the organization sent a letter saying so to Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul.

Coincidentally, on Aug. 7, Hochul appointed the judge who will be hearing the case tomorrow — Justice Lourdes M. Ventura.

Organization spokeswoman Allison O’Brien Silva told Bonus today:

The Say NO to the Casino group will be watching Tuesday’s proceedings closely. We’re confident that the appellate judge will agree with Judge Kapoor’s sound ruling.

Downstate New York Retail Casino Licenses

Despite the court case, LVS hasn’t yet formally applied to the state to build the casino.

Zac Hudson, LVS executive vice president and global general counsel, is named in Hofstra University vs. Nassau County Planning Commission. On Nov. 9, Kapoor ordered the annulment of Hudson’s April 26 and Nassau County Executive Bruce A. Blakeman‘s May 26 lease execution.

LVS and others who have expressed interest in the downstate New York retail casino licenses are waiting for the New York Gaming Facility Location Board (NYGFLB) to request them. That’s the siting board appointed by the regulator, the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC), to make licensee recommendations to the commission.

He’s hoping the regulator can “acknowledge submitted applications” by the end of 2023, said state Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.

Addabbo, D-Ozone Park, advocates for expanded legal gambling in New York. Each year, he introduces an online casino bill. Addabbo told Bonus he plans to do so again in 2024 and has been told iGaming can generate $1 billion a year in revenue.

In 2022, New York’s 13 commercial casinos generated $4.23 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR). That’s according to the trade organization American Gaming Association (AGA).

Michael Levoff, Sands’ senior vice president of public affairs and strategy, told the Nassau County Legislature in May that the proposed casino would generate tax revenue of more than $120 million annually.

However, “billion” doesn’t seem to be a scary word to would-be downstate New York retail casino licensees. On Nov. 7, Mets owner Steve Cohen unveiled plans for an $8 billion complex next to the MLB stadium in Queens. Citi Field may become part of Metropolitan Park — or 50 acres that include a sportsbook, casino, hotel, music venue, bars, restaurants, and more.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is Lead Writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She specializes in breaking news, legislative coverage, and gambling marketing strategy overviews. To reach Heather with a news tip, email [email protected].
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