NYGC Delays Casino Permit Decision, Boosts Opposition Group’s Anti-Casino Campaign

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As dawn broke on Monday, murmurs rumbled through the pockmarked streets of New York’s various boroughs, giving life to reports which hinted at a delay in the New York Gaming Commission’s (NYGC) decision on the lucrative downstate casino permits until late 2025. The news sparked intrigue and satisfaction among certain quarters of society, specifically those vehemently opposing the advent of a gaming venue on the suburban stretch of Long Island.

Among these groups is the tenacious Say NO to the Casino Civic Association, a group which has shown persistent defiance against the efforts of Las Vegas Sands’ to establish a colossal casino hotel at the Nassau Coliseum site. They drew the proverbial line in the sands, emphatically emphasizing their favor for the NYGC’s “slower timeline.” Not merely a matter of impetuous decision-making, but rather, the association believes that regardless of the duration, the decisions will reveal the inherent flaws in Sands’ proposal.

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According to the civic group, the Nassau Coliseum site is ill-suited for the monolithic casino envisaged by Las Vegas Sands, pointing at their perceived willingness to nudge the boundaries of legality in their quest for a license. However, the echo of construction hasn’t started reverberating in the cityscape, and the reason for such inertia rests in the coiling labyrinth of bureaucracy. The NYGC has refrained from entertaining proposals that haven’t crossed the zoning approval hurdle, thus impeding the genesis of any groundwork requiring said approvals.

This lull in proceedings has been seized upon by the Say NO to the Casino Civic Association as an opportunity for education, as they aim to illuminate local residents on the potential perils of a gaming venue in their backyard. They underscore the threats looming over the community’s character and environmental health, the potential damage of which could traverse the lines set by New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).

The association warns that the envisaged 4-million square foot mega-structure would upend the community’s character, usher in far-reaching deleterious impacts, and strain environmental resources beyond salvation. Parallel to their critique, there is skepticism about where the assertion that the Sands casino would be the second-largest in the US stems from. Concurrently, the operator has committed to constructing a jaw-dropping $6 billion integrated resort at the site.

The Association’s endorsement of the NYGC’s sluggish timeline resonates with paradox, however. The delay could provide Sands with the precious time required to slip the bindings of legal bureaucracy and rally Nassau County policymakers to probe into Hofstra University’s potential collusion with rival New York casino contenders. Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman expressed similar suspicions, admittedly unverified, alluding to possible collusion being at play on Long Island.

While Hofstra defiantly opposes a gaming venue near its campus, the university remains evasive about its stance on downstate casinos in general, raising questions about their potential bias. The connection between Say NO to the Casino Civic Association and Hofstra University remains as nebulous as the smoke wafting off the Grumman chimney stacks, their commonality resting solely on shared opposition against the proposed casino.