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State budget won't include video slots for Belmont

Belmont Park in Elmont on June 6, 2014.

Belmont Park in Elmont on June 6, 2014. Credit: Getty Images / Streeter Lecka

ALBANY - ALBANY -- A proposal to install video slot machines at Belmont Park in Elmont won't be included in this year's state budget, a key senator said Thursday.

"It's not going anywhere," said Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola), who represents the area around the renowned horse racing track.

Legislators said the Senate and Assembly were weighing an economic development proposal that would have approved 1,000 video slots, also known as video lottery terminals, at Belmont and 200 for an Albany off-track betting parlor. But it ran into stiff opposition and has been dropped.

Nassau and Suffolk counties each were authorized to install up to 1,000 video slots under a 2013 gambling expansion law that also approved upstate casinos. But placing a video slots parlor on Long Island hasn't been easy. The controversy even has sparked Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James) to propose a law to shelve video slots on Long Island altogether.

Suffolk Off-Track Betting Corp. is facing resistance to a proposed site in Medford, with a local group filing a lawsuit to block it.

Nassau OTB dropped a plan to use the old Fortunoff site in Westbury after vocal protests by neighbors. That sparked talk of using Belmont.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said the idea was worth considering. But Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Elmont), who represents the Belmont area, is opposed, saying the location would face the same community resistance that helped kill the Westbury plan.

"At the end of the day, it's a decision Nassau County makes," Martins said of finding a location. "OTB has got to find a spot. It's not going to be decided as part of this budget."

State lawmakers are aiming to approve the 2015-16 budget by Wednesday, the start of New York's fiscal year.

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