Sands NY Casino Still Has Life After Emergency Stay … Until Nov. 21

Written By Grant Lucas on November 17, 2023
Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, part of Nassau Hub targeted for Sands New York casino.

It seems hope still remains for Las Vegas Sands to build a New York casino resort on Long Island.

A day after one judge invalidated Sands’ 99-year lease with Nassau County, citing violations of the state’s Open Meetings Law and and the State Environmental Quality Review Act, an appellate judge granted a stay of the lease originally agreed upon.

In essence, the deal is back on – at least until a decision is made on an appeal filed by Nassau County. A hearing is set for Nov. 21.

Appellate court overturns ruling that invalidated Sands NY casino lease

Supreme Court Justice Sarika Kapoor ruled last week that Nassau County officials did not provide proper notice for public meetings regarding the land-lease agreement with Sands. In addition, Kapoor agreed with Hofstra University that county officials did not conduct a proper environmental review.

As a result, Kapoor invalidated the 99-year deal, throwing a wrench into the plans for a 396,726-square-foot Sands casino resort, which looks at its Nassau Hub project as “an extraordinary opportunity” for the company – especially considering securing one of the three downstate licenses would likely open the door to receiving a New York online casino license once lawmakers legalize the industry.

A day later, however, Lourdes M. Ventura overturned that ruling, granting a stay of the invalidation.

In a statement, Bruce Blakeman, county executive for Nassau County, emphasized that “The Hub” – a sprawling stretch of land that features Nassau Coliseum – “has been languishing in a twilight zone of inaction.

“We are grateful that the Appellate Division granted a stay of the lower court’s decision, and we’re confident the lower court’s ruling will be overturned. I will continue to stand for the proposal by the Sands to develop a world class luxury hotel, spa, entertainment center, and casino which will bring $5 billion in construction, good paying permanent jobs and tax relief for our residents.”

While still with hope, Sands faces vocal opposition

In April, Blakeman announced Nassau County’s 99-year lease agreement with Sands. The county-owned land would go to Sands for $54 million regardless of whether the company receives a downstate casino license.

Reports, however, indicated that the amount owed by Sands – to the county, to the police department, to surrounding municipalities – could get cut almost in half if Sands does not receive a license.

Like Sands, Blakeman holds an optimistic outlook, projected that the casino resort could generate over $100 million in annual revenue for 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.”

The project, though, has run into opposition from the outset, namely Hofstra. The university filed a lawsuit in April, adding an amendment in May:

“In a string of mishandled putative public meetings, the Planning Commission has denied Hofstra University and the public an opportunity to debate serious issues having farreaching negative consequences for our community.”

Hofstra cites increased traffic, crime and economic harm to local business as reasons a Sands NY casino should not receive county approval, let alone a downstate license.

“This is no place, this is not the right venue, this is not the right county for a casino project of this magnitude,” Pearl Jacobs, from the Uniondale Nostrand Gardens Civic Association, told News12 Long Island. “It would be the equivalent of seven football fields – it would be right in the middle of 60,000 students from graduate school all the way down to kindergarten.”

Photo by Scott Roth / AP Photo
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is the managing editor for PlayNY. A longtime, award-winning sports writer, Grant has covered gambling and legal sports betting since 2018, when he got his start reporting on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania industries. He now oversees PlayNY as New York expands legalized gambling to sports betting and online casino gaming.

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