Hofstra University Opposes Proposed Long Island Casino
Hofstra University is continuing its fight against a proposed Long Island Casino. The university has filed a lawsuit to stop the proposal from going forward. The Long Island Casino is being proposed by Las Vegas Sands, but it looks like the corporation is facing an uphill battle.
Usual Casino Complaints Raised
The private school is taking a strong stance against a proposed gaming resort at the Nassau Coliseum. They are even going as far as filing a lawsuit against the local planning commission, accusing them of violating open meetings laws. The plan for the resort, presented by Las Vegas Sands, involves a multibillion-dollar investment. Hofstra President Susan Poser recently spoke out against the casino resort in front of the Nassau County legislature, providing her reasons for opposing it.
Poser highlighted the common concerns associated with casinos. She expressed her belief that having a casino in Nassau County would lead to an increase in crime and negatively impact families’ savings accounts. Additionally, she argued that it would worsen traffic congestion and attract undesirable individuals to the area.
Poser firmly believes that a casino has no place so close to Hofstra’s campus. While Las Vegas Sands is known as a highly reputable gaming operator with significant financial resources, and they are actively lobbying government officials and the public in New York and Long Island, Poser might have some advantages in her battle against Sands. She may hold stronger arguments and reasons to support her opposition to the resort.
Coveted Downstate Casino Licenses
In 2013, New York lawmakers decided to lift the state’s ban on commercial casino gambling. This move allowed for the establishment of four brick-and-mortar casinos with slots and live dealer table games in upstate New York. Additionally, the law approved three more casino licenses for the downstate region. However, a ten-year moratorium was placed on issuing those licenses, which was outlined in the statute.
Now that the ten years have passed, New York state officials are preparing to grant the highly sought-after downstate licenses. It is anticipated that two of these licenses will be awarded to MGM Resorts’ Empire City Casino at the Yonkers Raceway and Resorts World New York City in Queens. Currently, these properties operate as racinos, offering video lottery terminals and electronic table games only.
The third license is the one generating intense interest from major gaming players such as Sands, Caesars Entertainment, Wynn Resorts, Hard Rock International, and the Mohegan Tribe. A competitive bidding process will determine which entity ultimately secures the license. The New York State Gaming Commission and the Gaming Facility Location Board (GFLB) are responsible for making this decision.
The GFLB is composed of three members appointed by the Gaming Commission. One of these members is Stuart Rabinowitz, who served as the president of Hofstra University for 20 years before retiring in August 2021.
Rabinowitz’s inclusion on the board, which will recommend to the New York State Gaming Commission which projects should be approved, has faced criticism from those who are advocating for Sands to establish a presence on Long Island.
Concerns of Bias
Residents of Nassau County who are supportive of bringing a casino to Uniondale, or at the very least want the county’s bid to receive fair consideration from the state, have raised concerns about Rabinowitz’s ability to remain unbiased due to his close association with Hofstra and Poser’s strong opposition to the Sands proposal.
Some individuals, like Robert LoScalzo, a civic activist from Queens, have voiced their reservations about this situation. In an interview with the New York Post, LoScalzo stated, “It certainly gives the impression of impropriety. This is not someone who would go against Hofstra’s interests.”
Rabinowitz’s name is prominently displayed on Hofstra’s Honors College, which is officially known as the Stuart and Nancy Rabinowitz Honors College. When questioned about Rabinowitz’s appointment to the Gaming Facility Location Board, a spokesperson from the state addressed the concerns by stating that there are no issues with his participation on the panel.
This is not the first time one of the casino proposals has received opposition. The proposed Coney Island Casino has received some opposition.