Good Morning
Good Morning
Long IslandNassau

Nassau Democrats want more information on VLT gambling hall

Nassau Democrats call on Nassau OTB to say

Nassau Democrats call on Nassau OTB to say where it will put a temporary VLT parlor before lawmakers vote on the county's 2016 budget on Sept. 21, 2015 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau legislative Democrats on Monday called on Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. to reveal the location of a planned temporary video slots parlor before the November election -- and before lawmakers must vote on the county's 2016 budget containing $20 million in projected revenue from the facility.

Lawmakers were reacting to County Executive Edward Mangano's statement last week that OTB will announce a site for the temporary video lottery terminal facility, with up to 1,000 machines, by Dec. 1 as it tries to find a permanent location.

Mangano, a Republican, has included $20 million in revenue from the county's share of profits from the temporary facility, using that commitment from OTB, based on a spring 2016 opening, as justification.

The GOP-controlled county legislature, with all 19 seats up for election Nov. 3, must approve the 2016 budget by the end of October.

"It is irresponsible, it is reckless, for the county executive to put this money in his budget," Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said at a news conference on Monday. "Casinos have no place at all in Nassau County."

OTB initially sought to place the permanent slots parlor at a vacant Fortunoff store in Westbury. The 2015 budget included $9 million in projected VLT revenue on the assumption that facility would already be open.

The Fortunoff proposal was scrapped in February after strong opposition by residents and lawmakers of both major parties.

Abrahams on Monday also wrote to the Republican-run OTB demanding immediate disclosure of their plans for the temporary slots parlor. Abrahams called waiting until early December to announce a location "a classic ploy to shield its political allies in the legislature from accountability to the electorate."

OTB declined to comment on potential sites. Sources have said the agency is eyeing the grandstand area of the Belmont Racetrack as a permanent home and a different portion of Belmont or an old county public works property in Inwood as possible locations for a temporary VLT parlor.

Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) said Monday, "I don't know where they're contemplating" the casino, but otherwise referred to a statement released by her office.

"We will get all the facts during the budget process," Gonsalves said in the statement. "There is no need to comment on conjecture at this time."

Also on Monday, the legislature approved the $6.5 million sale of a 5-acre county parcel next to the Nassau Coliseum to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to build an outpatient treatment and research facility. Sloan Kettering will spend $140 million on the two-story, 105,000-square-foot center employing 250.

A report commissioned by the county Industrial Development Agency estimated that the facility will have an economic impact, through sales, of $27 million a year for Nassau.

Nassau top stories