It was reported, this week, that Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, is taking legal action against a potential casino project in the region. The institution is now filing a lawsuit against Nassau County for allegedly having discussions for the proposed US$4 billion casino project by Las Vegas Sands. This would potentially violate the state’s open meeting laws.
In March, the Nassau County Planning Commission had a meeting to negotiate the suggested transfer of the Nassau Hub lease to the gambling company. The latter is looking to acquire a downstate casino license and develop a multi-functional gambling resort in the county. However, it will face tough competition with many third-party companies expressing interest already.
Not Including the Public in the Process
It is no secret that Hofstra University is against the proposed casino and is one of the local communities that does not want the Nassau Coliseum land to be transformed into a gambling and entertainment resort. Previously its officials said that a casino should not be this close to where students live and study, as its campus is adjacent to the Nassau Hub property.
Besides its negative effect on the area, the university also cites that the local leader violated the law in the early considerations of the project. In the lawsuit submitted to the Nassau County’s Supreme Court, the Nassau County Planning Commission will be the defendant. Meanwhile, the university argued that the county is not including the public in the process as laws mandate.
Adam Schuman, an attorney representing the university commented that the proposed transfer of the Nassau Coliseum lease to Las Vegas Sands needs to receive a full airing to the public. He said the commission failed to do so. In the lawsuit, the university said the planning commission failed to properly notify the public and make available the necessary materials about the proposed lease transfer.
In addition to that, the lawsuit claims that the commission conducted the meeting prematurely before the lease negotiations with Las Vegas Sands were finalized. It also said the planning commission voted prematurely to close its public comment period before the public has had adequate time to consider the issue and reach an opinion.
Far from a Done Deal
However, it should be also mentioned that the realization of Las Vegas Sands of a casino in Nassau County is far from done as the company needs to be selected first. The Request for Applications was launched in early 2023 by the Gaming Facility Location Board, which will have a say in the three winners. The winning bids should be announced by the end of 2023.
As mentioned, there are lots of candidates for the licenses which are just three for the downstate region. One of those is Caesars Entertainment which has joined efforts with SL Green and Roc Nation about bringing a casino to Times Square. It would be titled Caesars Palace Times Square, however, it was opposed by the Broadway League which expressed its concerns about its effect on the area.
Source: O’Connor, Devin “Hofstra University Files Lawsuit Against Nassau County Over Casino Planning Meeting” Casino.org, April 19, 2023