Opposition to a Las Vegas Sands-backed proposal for a casino at Nassau Coliseum continues to mount as Hofstra University joins the list of detractors.
In an open letter, university trustees deemed the school’s neighboring Nassau hub “an entirely inappropriate location for a casino.”
According to the letter, the Hub is:
surrounded by educational institutions from preschool through graduate school, and a diversity of suburban communities that should not be exposed to the increased traffic congestion, crime, economic harm to local businesses, and other negative impacts that a casino development would likely bring.
Additionally, the letter details the school’s place in local history and highlights the 40,000 students active in the neighborhood orbiting the proposed site.
Hofstra Open Letter: Not in Our Backyard
According to Hofstra’s trustees, there are better places to put a casino, and it’s not in the school-heavy neighborhood:
Hofstra has been at its current site for almost 90 years. It has grown from a liberal arts college to a university of over 10,000 students with 180 undergraduate and 190 graduate programs.
There are other locations in and around New York City to site a casino that are not in such proximity to multiple educational institutions where so many young people live and learn.
Trustees signing the letter include:
- Susan Poser, Hofstra president
- Donald Schaeffer, chair
- Martha Pope, vice chair
- Michael Roberge, vice chair
- David Mack, secretary
- Alan Bernon, immediate past chair
Notably, Hofstra’s former president, Stuart Rabinowitz, now sits on New York Gaming Facility Location Board. He is also a lawyer at the Long Island law firm Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone.
Nassau Community College Strikes Potential Training Deal with Las Vegas Sands
While Hofstra firmly rejects the proposed casino, Nassau Community College (NCC) and Long Island University (LIU) have a different view.
Instead of opposing the development, the schools partnered with Las Vegas Sands (LVS) to expand the hospitality program at NCC.
The deal could see NCC become the primary employee training center for LVS, should the location board select the Sands proposal. The partnership would also offer Nassau students interested in a future career with LVS internships and “experiential learning.”
NCC’s acting president, Maria Canzatti, focused on the potential benefits for the community in a statement:
The creation of a new industry with thousands of jobs in multiple sectors is a tremendous opportunity not only for our students but for the diverse populations we serve as a community college.
Enhancing our curriculum with training programs, mentorship, and internship opportunities in conjunction with an industry leader like Sands provides an opportunity for adult students, career changers, and all community members to be placed on successful career paths.
Speaking with News 12 Long Island, current Sands executive (and former NY Governor) David Paterson called Hofstra’s objections “misguided.”
As Paterson noted, the gaming floor in the completed development would only take up 10% of the entire resort. The rest, he said, would house a hotel, entertainment venues, and other amenities.
Community Groups Join Sands NY Downstate Casino Opposition
Of course, LVS has a vested interest in getting community buy-in. Local support will play a factor when the location board evaluates downstate casino proposals.
So, it’s no surprise Sands’ focus is on the jobs, tax dollars, and other benefits the development could bring.
But, like Hofstra, that potential isn’t enough for some in the community.
For example, the Village of Garden City board voted against the casino proposal. While the board cannot directly affect the proposal, the vote sends a clear signal of opposition in the community.
Peter Jacobs of Nostrand Gardens Civic Association told News 12:
It’s not good for our community; it’s not good for Nassau County. Those casinos bring in crime.
Sands, in a statement, responded:
We look forward to continuing conversations with the village of Garden City and all interested individuals to ensure that this integrated resort is a benefit to everyone.