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Race Palace ruled out as Nassau gambling site

The Race Palace, at 1600 Round Swamp Rd.

The Race Palace, at 1600 Round Swamp Rd. in Plainview, on Oct. 4, 2013. Credit: Josh Stewart

Nassau County's off-track betting agency has eliminated Plainview as a potential location for video gambling terminals because of opposition from town and community leaders.

The Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation, also known as Nassau Downs OTB, sent notice of the decision in a Jan. 31 letter to Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto.

OTB general counsel Arthur Walsh said the county's authorized 1,000 video gaming devices "will not be sited at its Plainview tele-theater," the Race Palace on Round Swamp Road just south of the Long Island Expressway.

"This decision is based on multiple factors, particularly your forceful advocacy on behalf of residents living in the vicinity," Walsh wrote.

Venditto said Monday that "Nassau OTB . . . should be commended for acting as a good neighbor."

"It's not something that belongs in a suburban community," said Carol Meschkow, president of the Concerned Citizens of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Community. She said her association had lobbied town and county officials, and it collected about 700 signatures on a petition.

Meschkow said that within a two-mile radius of the betting site, there was an elementary school, middle school and high school. "To me it was a recipe for disaster," she said.

Ginger Lieberman, president of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Board of Education, said, "This is something that the community is going to be very relieved about."

She said there are many homes nearby on Round Swamp Road and Old Country Road with a major development proposed at the intersection of those two roads.

Nassau and Suffolk officials are working on locations for 1,000 slot machines each, the first on Long Island. The state in June granted each county permission to operate video lottery terminals.

Nassau OTB president Joseph Cairo said in December that he hoped to open a facility in 2015. He added that while the Race Palace was a possible location, he was concerned about its limited parking and opposition from the community.

Cairo also said the location was not ideal because it was close to Suffolk County and he did not want to compete with its parlor.

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