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As cars fill up the casino lot, Islandia will install meters on its streets

Cars park along Bedford Avenue, next to Jake's

Cars park along Bedford Avenue, next to Jake's 58 Hotel and Casino in Islandia, Thursday, March 2, 2017. Village officials say parking meters will be installed on streets near the casino. Credit: Chuck Fadely

Islandia officials will install parking meters on roads near the new Suffolk OTB casino after some bettors who couldn’t find parking in the facility’s lot found space on side streets.

Village spokesman John Zaher said officials are “reviewing options” for putting up to 200 meters on Bedford Avenue north of the Long Island Expressway and Raymond Drive, where dozens of customers parked last week after the betting parlor opened at Jake’s 58 Hotel and Casino, on the LIE service road.

Details of the parking meter plan, such as meter fees and anticipated revenues, were not available on Friday.

Casino patrons interviewed last week said they parked on the streets because they could not find spaces in the casino’s 643-space parking lot. Some said they were not allowed to park in reserved parking areas at the casino.

The casino opened one week ago with 265 video lottery terminals, or VLTs. Suffolk County Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. officials have said 735 additional machines are expected to be added by summer.

Before noon on Thursday, more than two dozen cars had parked on Bedford Avenue, west of the hotel. The casino is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m.

“It’s not enough parking. They have to expand it,” Anton Nicolich, 75, of East Meadow, said Thursday after parking on Bedford Avenue. “If there’s only one-third of the machines, they need more parking.”

Zaher and Glen A. White, spokesman for Buffalo-based casino operator Delaware North, said there is sufficient parking for casino customers. Casino and hotel parking is free, but valet parking costs $7. The fee is waived for cars with handicap designation.

“While there is ample parking at the hotel, some people do not want to use the valet parking,” Zaher said in an email.

He said “No Parking” signs on both streets have been covered until the meters are installed. He did not say when meters would be installed.

Suffolk OTB vice president Tony Pancella declined to comment.

Islandia officials approved a special permit for the casino last August. The gambling parlor is expected to help the fiscally ailing Suffolk OTB save 250 jobs and escape bankruptcy.

White, the Delaware North spokesman, said the hotel will have enough parking even when the casino expands to 1,000 machines. He said additional parking will be created by “stacking” cars in the parking lot.

Some drivers complained last week that empty parking spaces were clearly visible in two roped-off sections of the hotel parking lot. They said they were told by a parking attendant that the areas were off-limits for casino customers.

White said some sections of the lot were reserved “in case they are needed for valet and/or stacked parking if business volumes increase as the day progresses.”

Joan Yuttal, of Plainview, after parking on Bedford Avenue on Thursday, said the casino’s parking was poor compared to the Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens.

“They better fix this if they’re going to be successful,” she said. “When you go to Queens, there’s spots all over the place.”

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