Casinos for youSands Corp has been granted a 99-year lease to develop a billion-dollar casino resort at Uniondale in Nassau County in the Empire State. However, a few more regulatory and legal hurdles remain before the project’s construction formally kicks off.
Casino giant Sands Corp has scored its first regulatory victory in the pursuit of expanding its market footprint to the burgeoning New York gambling scene. This win was bestowed by the 19-member Nassau County legislature, who recently voted 17-1 to approve a land lease agreement with Sands Corp, one of the largest gambling companies in the USA by revenue.
The industry bigwig now has the go-ahead to occupy the Uniondale space currently inhabited by Nassau Coliseum, where it seeks to set up its $5 billion NY casino resort. Bruce Blakeman, who serves as the Nassau County Executive, released a statement after the vote, saying:Quote
“The overwhelming bipartisan approval of lease terms with the Sands by the County Legislature affirms that Nassau County has made the right decision. This is the first hurdle to overcome to provide a world-class entertainment center with a luxury spa and hotel, creating thousands of jobs and economic prosperity for Nassau County. I am very pleased with the vote.”
More Regulatory Hurdles in the Way
As good as the win from the County Legislature is, there are still plenty of hoops that Sands must jump through before construction can officially commence. For starters, Sands will be vetted by a Community Advisory Committee for the eligibility of a casino license. From there, the Gaming Facility Location Board will review Sands’ application and recommend it for approval if everything checks out.
Then, after the two bodies, the final hurdle would be the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC). Per the words of NYSGC’s chair Brian O’ Dwyer, the Commission will comb through the fine details of the application, looking for errors and ensuring that Sands is compliant with all regulatory requirements.
When Sands is done dealing with the regulatory bodies and committees, there is also the matter of the strong opposition from Hofsra University, which has filed a complaint against the NY casino project. The civil complaint filed by the institution claims that the Nassau County Planning Commission broke the state’s Open Meeting Law when it handed Sands the 99-year lease.
The complaint describes the public consultative meetings as ‘mishandled’ and one that denied the institution and the larger community an opportunity to air their concerns on the prospective casino development.
Well, even with the stumbling blocks, the global gaming giant remains upbeat about its chances of ultimately emerging triumphant. This was clear through its CEO Robert Goldstein who issued a statement after the Nassau County Legislature approval, saying:Quote
“The approval granted today by the Nassau County Legislature is an important step in our company’s efforts to secure a New York gaming license and ultimately develop a world-class hospitality, entertainment, and gaming destination.”
Las Vegas Sands to Pay Nassau County Millions
Of course, the approval is not a win for Sands alone, as the county at large is set to benefit heavily from the billion-dollar casino resort project. For one, the casino operator has agreed to pay $5 million annually for the Nassau County land, and should it receive a casino license, the rent will double to $10 million annually.
On top of that, when the construction project is complete, and the establishment is operational, Nassau County will be entitled to $25 million for the first three years. And this sum will be exclusive of the annual rent. From there, after the initial three years, the payments to the county will double to $50 million annually.
Still, the cash outflow for Sands doesn’t stop there, as the operator is also mandated to pay $1.8 million to the Nassau County Police Department. At the same time, the areas surrounding the casino resort will also be entitled to revenue payments.
Overall, it is projected that the NY Sands casino and entertainment complex could generate up to $100 million in revenue for Nassau County municipalities and schools. Indeed, the revenue-generating potential from the Sands casino facility is music to the ears of Blakeman, who commented that:Quote
“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.”
The Big Sharks Are Circling
Nassau County is just one of the many pieces of NY’s sizeable gaming industry pie that has attracted interest from major gambling stakeholders. Three downstate casino licenses have also courted the attention of Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International, Hard Rock Gaming International, Bally’s Cop, and the Genting Group.
As such, the stage has now been set for a no-holds-barred battle for a stake in the lucrative gambling scene in the Empire State. It remains to be seen which parties will ultimately manage to carve out a share of the market.
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