Las Vegas Sands NY Casino Project Suffers Another Setback With Latest Court Ruling

Written By David Danzis on February 28, 2024 - Last Updated on February 29, 2024
Image of Judge Sarika Kapoor in front of Sands New York casino rendering for a story on her latest ruling against Las Vegas Sands

A judge in New York is acting as a cooler for a casino project on Long Island that once had high hopes for a lucrative payday.

Supreme Court Justice Sarika Kapoor, the same judge who already struck down a 99-year land lease agreement between Las Vegas Sands and Nassau County, has ruled that a separate arrangement between Sands and the prior occupant at Nassau Coliseum is also invalid.

It’s just the latest in a string of setbacks as Sands pursues one of three available downstate casino licenses.

NY casino prospects for Sands getting slimmer

The ruling is the latest blow to Sands’ $4 billion downstate proposal.

The gambling operator has been on the losing side of a legal battle with nearby Hofstra University. And even as the company pushes forward, it is the target of vocal and active community opposition to a casino on Long Island.

Las Vegas Sands is among 11 likely applicants for three available downstate NY casino licenses. The downstate area is defined as the five boroughs and Long Island, as well as the counties of Westchester, Rockland and Putnam.

The Sands’ proposal is the only project looking to build on Long Island. Community support is a requirement for the state to issue a casino license.

Landing a license could come with a windfall – but it will cost that, too

The downstate New York casino license race will be fierce and costly. In addition to a $500 million licensing fee, the winning applicants must spend at least $500 million on capital investment and demonstrate maximum revenue-generating capabilities to state regulators.

The payoff for the three eventual winners will be huge. Most industry experts predict a billion-dollar annual windfall for casino operators in the downstate area, translating to hundreds of millions in tax dollars for local, country and state government.

Commercial and tribal casinos in NY are coming off their best year ever, while NY sports betting is the largest regulated market in the country. As lawmakers in Albany haggle over the prospect of legal online casinos in New YorkY, brick-and-mortar operators are widely expected to have an advantage if/when iGaming in the Empire State becomes a reality.

Updating details of ongoing legal battles between Sands, Hofstra

Which is why the most recent judicial rebuke is so devastating for Las Vegas Sands.

Last April, Hofstra filed a lawsuit accusing the county of violating open public meetings laws after the Nassau County Legislature approved a 99-year lease transfer from Nassau Live Center LLC (the Coliseum’s former tenant) to Sands earlier that month.

In November, Kapoor, a Hofstra grad, ruled in favor of her alma mater.

Nassau County and Sands, however, contend that the deal between the gambling operator and Nassau Live Center LLC was a private business transaction and, therefore, not subject to public-entity procedures.

Will the people or the money have the final say in Nassau?

Hofstra attorney Adam Schuman said Kapoor’s recent ruling reinforces Hofstra’s position. The university wants public hearings and an environmental review before transferring or developing Nassau Coliseum.

Here is what Schuman told a local media outlet after Kapoor’s ruling:

“The Court has issued another important ruling needed to protect the public’s rights under state and county laws. The Nassau Coliseum cannot be transferred or developed without a public hearing and environmental review first being properly conducted by the County, so that the public can provide its input to such critical decisions for the future of the County.”

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David Danzis

David Danzis is a writer for PlayNY. A New Jersey native and honors graduate of Rutgers University, he served as a newspaper reporter for the New Jersey Herald and Press of Atlantic City, earning statewide awards for his coverage of politics, government, education, sports and business. Today, he contributes to New York's growing legal gambling landscape, including online sports betting and potential legalization of NY online casinos. David lives in Mays Landing with his wife and two children. When not on the beach, a golf course, or snowboarding, David enjoys watching his beloved New York sports teams — Yankees, Jets, Rangers and Knicks.

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