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Nassau OTB widens search for mini-casino property

An unidentified man reads a betting sheet in

An unidentified man reads a betting sheet in front of the Nassau OTB branch on Hempstead Turnpike in Franklin Square on Oct. 18, 2011. Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Nassau's Off-Track Betting Corp. is casting a wider net in its efforts to purchase property to construct a mini-casino with 1,000 electronic slot machines.

Tuesday, OTB released a Request for Statements of Interest, soliciting commercial property owners who would be interested in selling their land to the agency.

OTB officials plan to equip the new facility with at least 1,000 video lottery terminals.

The site must have at least 100,000 usable square feet of space, including 50,000 square feet on the ground floor, and about 1,000 parking spots, said Nassau OTB President Joe Cairo.

OTB officials have searched for months for a site to house the proposed gaming parlor after they eliminated their first choice -- the Race Palace in Plainview -- because of opposition from community leaders.

Cairo said OTB staff, in consultation with the State Gaming Commission, recently narrowed their choices to three locations.

But after news reports circulated last month that the GOP State Senate was considering giving Nassau and Suffolk an additional 1,000 VLTs each, several other property owners reached out to Cairo to express interest in the project.

While the additional slots were not included in the state budget, they could still be considered in future legislation.

"We're just covering all bases," Cairo said.

State lawmakers approved the first set of 1,000 VLTs each for Nassau and Suffolk last year.

Cairo declined to identify the three sites under consideration for the slots but said the Nassau Coliseum and the Belmont Race Track properties are not among them.

Responses to the Statements of Interest are due April 22, Cairo said, and a decision is expected shortly thereafter.

Cairo said he hopes to open the gaming facility next year.

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