Legal Hurdles Impact Sands New York Casino Development


Las Vegas Sands Faces Legal Setback in Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Casino Project

Las Vegas Sands’ ambitious endeavor to establish a premier casino hotel at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum site in Uniondale, NY, encountered a significant legal obstacle recently.

Justice Kapoor’s ruling in November found the lease transfer to be in violation of New York’s open meeting laws and the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process. Despite this, a New York appellate court temporarily allowed the lease transfer to proceed pending an appeal. Subsequently, the town of Hempstead initiated an environmental review for the casino project, conducting public comment sessions in January.

Opposition to the project, exemplified by the group “Say NO to the Casino,” contends that Nassau County and Sands knowingly disregarded the court’s November decision. The group demands accountability from County Executive Bruce Blakeman, the County Legislature, and LVS, emphasizing the necessity of adhering to legal rulings and processes.

LVS’s vision entails the development of a $6 billion integrated resort at the Coliseum site, contingent upon securing one of the three downstate casino licenses expected to be awarded by New York regulators.

Heightened Controversy Surrounding Sands’ Casino Plans

Justice Kapoor’s latest ruling exacerbates the contentious atmosphere surrounding Nassau County and Sands’ endeavor to revamp the Coliseum into a revenue-generating venue. Notably, Hofstra University has played a pivotal role in opposing the casino project, acting as the plaintiff in the lawsuit against the county. The university’s efforts, along with other opposition groups, aim to prolong legal battles, thereby diminishing the likelihood of a casino in Nassau County.

However, reports suggest that Hofstra’s motivations may not be entirely altruistic. Speculation arose in January regarding the university’s alleged communications with representatives of Hard Rock International, potentially aimed at thwarting Sands’ plans. Hard Rock, in collaboration with New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, seeks approval to construct a casino hotel near Citi Field in Queens. This endeavor faces its own challenges, notably concerning the classification of the proposed site as parkland.

Demands from Opposition Group

In light of the ongoing legal proceedings, “Say NO to the Casino” demands the reinstatement of the Coliseum lease to its previous holder, Nassau Live Center. Furthermore, they call for a halt to the SEQRA process by the Town of Hempstead, citing the court’s directive for SEQRA management by the county. Emphasizing that the Nassau HUB is public land, the opposition group urges elected officials and LVS to adhere to legal obligations and ethical standards.

As the legal saga unfolds, the fate of the proposed casino project remains uncertain, with stakeholders closely monitoring developments and outcomes in this high-stakes endeavor.

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