Las Vegas Sands entered into a $4 billion redevelopment deal in Nassau County, aiming to secure one of four available casino licenses for downstate New York. Meanwhile, Hard Rock International joined forces with the owner of the New York Mets, Steve Cohen, to propose an $8 billion casino development near Citi Field Stadium in Queens. These ambitious plans would compete for just one available downstate license, increasing the likelihood of redundancy.
Sands has gained support from local educational institutions, including Long Island University and Nassau Community Colleges, for their project at the Nassau Hub. However, they face significant opposition from Hofstra University, whose president Susan Poser has raised concerns about increased crime, gambling addictions, and traffic if the casino is developed. Poser also expressed fears about potential negative effects on air quality and the overall quality of life in the Uniondale community.
The situation has escalated into a battle between county officials and Hofstra University, with accusations emerging that Poser is collaborating with Hard Rock to undermine Sands’ development. County Executive Bruce Blakeman alleged that an email from a Hard Rock lobbyist to Poser and others showed evidence of improper collaboration, and that Hofstra and the competing casino were working together to derail Sands’ plans.
Despite these allegations, Hard Rock vehemently denied any involvement with Hofstra and stressed their commitment to integrity, honesty, and transparency in the casino licensing process. The ongoing legal battle has resulted in a series of appeals and continues to affect the future of the casino developments in Nassau County. Poser is scheduled to appear before county leadership to address these allegations and concerns.
As the battle between the casino developers and community leaders rages on, the future of the downstate casino license remains uncertain, and the fate of the competing casino projects hangs in the balance.