Nassau County officials are betting that a casino and entertainment complex proposal will win over a three-member board in charge of awarding downstate gambling licenses.
In fact, county officials are so confident in an elaborate plan to bring a full-scale New York casino resort to the Nassau Coliseum Hub that they agreed to a 99-year deal with Las Vegas Sands Corp.
At a press conference on April 26, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said the county-owned land around the Coliseum will be leased by Sands for $54 million regardless of whether the company receives a casino license.
LVS opens up checkbook to Nassau
The details of the Sands deal with Nassau County direct millions of dollars toward local costs.
Sands will pay $5 million per year for the county land. If LVS receives a casino license, the rent will increase to $10 million yearly. Once the casino is operational, the county would receive $25 million for the first three years on top of the annual rent. After three years, payments to the county would increase to $50 million.
LVS would also pay $1.8 million to the Nassau County Police Department. Surrounding municipalities are also included in revenue payment arrangements.
According to local news reports, the amounts would be cut almost in half without a casino.
Nassau, Sands pulling out all the stops for NY casino, entertainment complex
Las Vegas Sands, the company once owned by the late Sheldon Adelson, wants to build a $4 billion casino resort and entertainment complex on Long Island.
LVS no longer owns any casinos in the United States after recently selling the Venetian. The company has been focusing its gaming efforts on Asian markets.
Blakeman projected the Sands project would generate more than $100 million in annual revenue for Nassau County municipalities and schools.
“We are going to develop the Coliseum site into a world-class hotel, a world-class entertainment center, and that is going to be funded by a casino,” Blakeman said. “And we believe that that will bring jobs, economic prosperity, tax relief, and improved safety here in Nassau County.”
Hofstra has NIMBY objections to Nassau casino
The Sands/Nassau deal is far from a done deal or a certainty that the “Old Barn” will become a casino.
The lease agreement is subject to approval by the Nassau County Legislature. The Town of Hempstead would also need to issue zoning approvals.
The proposal also has critics, namely from nearby Hofstra University. Citing increased traffic and crime concerns, the school opposes the Nassau Coliseum casino.
Only so many slices of the gambling pie in Big Apple
The Nassau site is among several put forth by major gambling companies looking for a piece of the Big Apple.
Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International, Mohegan Gaming, Hard Rock International, Bally’s Corp. and the Genting Group are also vying for three downstate gaming licenses. MGM and Genting already operate existing racinos and are expected to nab two of the available casino licenses.
That makes the push for the remaining downstate casino license a no-holds-barred battle for what will almost certainly be a billion-dollar gambling parlor in New York City.
“Our company’s track-record of developing iconic, economy-changing developments is well-documented and we have every intention of bringing both our proven ability and a sizeable appetite to developing here on Long Island,” Rob Goldstein, LVS chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
“Today is an important step in a process we hope ends with our company ultimately receiving a gaming license from the state of New York.”
A downstate New York casino license will cost no less than $500 million (licensing fee).