Long Island Sierra Club Joins Opposition To Las Vegas Sands NY Casino Project

Written By David Danzis on February 2, 2024
Nassau Coliseum with logo for Sierra Club Long Island Group for a story on the need for an environmental review of Las Vegas Sands NY casino site

A new challenge to a casino resort on Long Island has emerged, joining a handful of other groups who want plans for a gambling parlor in Hempstead to slow down.

The Sierra Club Long Island Group is calling for an independent environmental review of the Las Vegas Sands casino project for the area around the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

According to a press release, the Sierra Club has “strong concerns about the environmental impacts,” of a proposed $4.5 billion gambling and entertainment complex on Long Island.

Sierra Club joins growing list of Las Vegas Sands opponents

The Sierra Club Long Island Group has a list of environmental concerns about the project from Las Vegas Sands, one of 11 likely applicants for three available downstate New York casino licenses.

Not only would the winners potentially create one of the biggest casino industries in the world but also have access to online casinos in New York once lawmakers legalize the industry.

Among the concerns includes the site’s water usage, garbage removal, road congestion, energy demands and wildlife disruption. The press release says:

“The Sierra Club Long Island group agrees with the growing number of residents, as well as the courts, who are demanding that the process slow down and allow for an independent environmental review of the LVS proposal. The Sierra Club supports the effort to preserve the balance of nature and responsible growth on Long Island.”

Sands NY sees uphill climb get even steeper

The downstate area includes all five NYC boroughs, Long Island and the counties of Westchester, Rockland and Putnam.

State gaming regulators have not yet opened the formal license application process. But when they do, part of the bureaucratic checklist includes community support for the casino project. Each applicant must be approved by a politically-appointed Community Advisory Committee, where issues like neighborhood and environmental impact issues will be considered.

The LVS casino project is already facing heavy scrutiny from nearby Hofstra University, which took the county to court over a backroom land-use deal with politicians. In December, a NY Supreme Court judge sided with the university and invalidated a 99-year lease agreement between Nassau County and Las Vegas Sands.

The Say No to the Casino Civic Association is also opposing the casino project. The group recently joined the LI Sierra Club at a Town of Hempstead environmental scope presentation put on by LVS representatives to voice their concerns.

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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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