Las Vegas Sands is really working on winning over its community in its quest for one of three downstate casino licenses in New York.
The gambling company recently announced a partnership with spa and wellness company Canyon Ranch to integrate within Sands’ proposed NY casino on Long Island.
Sands will build a Canyon Ranch “spa, fitness and food destination” as part of its $4 billion casino and resort proposal at Nassau Coliseum. In a statement, Sands CEO Robert Goldstein noted that the health center will become a “major draw.”
“A New York Canyon Ranch location appeals to its loyal following as a new destination to visit and puts Long Island on short list of the most sought after wellness destinations in the world. This offering further entrenches on our strategy to build Long Island into a global tourism destination that creates a lift for the community’s entire hospitality industry.”
What is Canyon Ranch, anyway?
First born in 1979 in Tucson, Arizona, Canyon Ranch has evolved into one of the industry’s “top wellness providers,” according to a press release announcing the partnership.
Canyon Ranch now has several luxury spa locations across the country, including in Las Vegas, where Canyon Ranch developed an award-winning wellness destination at Sands former property The Venetian.
At each location, according to the release, Canyon Ranch boasts state-of-the-art fitness and sports performance resources, expert wellness practitioners and dining options specializing in healthful cuisine that emphasizes local produce and specialties.
“Canyon Ranch’s purpose is to inspire people to achieve a well way of life so that they can live better, longer,” Jeff Kuster, CEO of Canyon Ranch, said in the press release.
“We are proud to be in partnership with Sands to expand access to our unique approach to integrated wellness to the New York Metropolitan and Long Island area.”
As stated in the press release, this partnership between Sands and Canyon Ranch transforms Long Island into “a must-visit destination for global tourists and creating another avenue to spur the local economy.”
Could this partnership save Sands NY casino?
Seemingly since the idea was first broached, a Sands NY casino has faced plenty of pushback from the local community on Long Island.
As it stands, Sands intends to build an expansive 72-acre casino, resort and entertainment facility known as Nassau Hub. Of course, the facility will feature a large casino floor, complete with slots, table games and sports betting. The area will also include a five-star hotel, a world-class concert venue and plenty of dining options to complement convention spaces and other amenities.
All told, Sands officials have emphasized, the casino itself will only comprise 10% of the entire space.
The gambling company agreed to a 99-year lease with Nassau County just a few months ago, which grants Sands access to the property regardless if it is selected for one of the three downstate NY casino licenses.
However, Sands continues to see hurdles thrown in its way.
Local community not showing much support for Sands NY casino
That 99-year lease agreement drew plenty of criticism from locals. Particularly from Hofstra University, which filed a civil complaint challenging the validity of the deal. Specifically, Hofstra contends that the Nassau County Planning Commission violated New York’s Open Meeting Law.
On top of that, other citizens express concern for potential rise in traffic and crime rates with a New York casino at the Old Barn.
Then came a report that Sands might seek a sales-tax exemption on construction material purchase and a reduction in the mortgage recording tax.
This spurred one group, the Say NO to the Casino Civic Association, to release a statement calling it the “height of hypocrisy” for a profitable company (Sands) to see tax relief.
“Asking for tax breaks to chip away at the meager payments they’ve promised in relation to their expected astronomical windfall from our residents’ gambling losses, reveals the greed driving their forceful press to push their casino into our community.”
Support from the local community represents one of the biggest factors in determining which casino proposal will receive recommendation for licensing. With around a dozen proposals floating around, time will tell where Sands actually stands.