The proposed Las Vegas Sands retail casino that’s spurring protests and advocacy even before it moves into the land now housing the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum got a reprieve from being the subject of a court appearance on May 24. Possibly because the Nassau County Legislature voted on May 22 to allow a lease transfer to Sands, Nassau Supreme Court Justice Sarika Kapoor will hear the Hofstra case on June 13 instead.
Hofstra University officials have been amending their complaint filed on April 18 in Nassau Supreme Court. They’re doing so as facts about the Sands casino proposal change. Hofstra leaders are suing the Nassau County Planning Commission (NCPC) for allegedly meeting behind closed doors to discuss transferring the lease on 72 acres that now house the Nassau Coliseum.
On April 27, the NCPC allowed the lease transfer.
On Monday, the legislature approved the lease transfer after hours of testimony for and against the proposed Sands casino.
If Hofstra wins its case, the lease transfer will be voided.
A university spokeswoman didn’t immediately reply to an email from Bonus today requesting comment about the Hofstra case.
3 Full Retail Casino Licenses Remain Unawarded
Meanwhile, Sands isn’t the only gambling entity enduring a love/hate community reaction to it possibly getting one of three full retail casino licenses that will be granted for downstate New York gaming facilities. Months from now, a board appointed by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) will pick which sites will house the casinos.
To even be in the running, retail casino license applicants must be willing to:
- Pay a $500 million license fee
- Show a “minimum capital investment” of $500 million
On May 18, NYSGC Communications Director Brad Maione told Bonus that the appointed board, the New York Gaming Facility Location Board (NYGFLB), hasn’t yet set a date to receive formal applications. So, for now, proposed casino projects are only called that by Sands and other would-be casino licensees.
Hofstra Case Not Alone in Sands Opposition
Other proposed downstate New York retail casino projects are seeing protests. However, the proposed Sands casino does have organized opposition.
In addition to Hofstra University vs. Nassau County Planning Commission, entities worked to try to stop the lease transfer.
Among them was Garden City-based Say NO to the Casino Civic Association.
The organization created “with one goal: to stop the Sands Casino proposal” hosted protests on Sunday and Monday at the Nassau County Legislature building to urge legislators to vote “no” on the lease transfer.
After legislators approved the transfer on Monday, Say NO to the Casino Civic Association emailed Bonus this statement:
Tonight’s vote is only the first step in the casino siting process. It is not a fait accompli. As the process moves forward, we are confident that community opposition from our group and others will be successful in preventing the Las Vegas Sands from building a casino at the heart of our county.
Sands Advocates Speak
On Monday, legislators also heard from advocates of the proposed Sands casino.
Michael Levoff, Sands’ senior vice president of public affairs and strategy, introduced former New York Gov. David Paterson to speak on Sands’ behalf. The former governor talked about growing up in that area of Long Island and said Sands would be a boon.
The great innovators of this country stood alone often against the socities that they were trying to convince.
Levoff said the $4 billion to $5 billion “integrated” resort would include more than a retail casino. He said the Sands project would generate more than $120 million a year in tax revenue for Nassau County and Hempstead.
Sands Communications Vice President Ron Reese testified that unions, chambers of commerce, nonprofits, and others support the proposed project.
However, all the talk may be moot if the Hofstra case succeeds.