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After backlash, push to waive zoning requirements for LI betting parlors

Nassau and Suffolk counties each received approval in

Nassau and Suffolk counties each received approval in 2013 to open gambling parlors with up to 1,000 video slot machines, also called video lottery terminals, as part of the state's massive gambling expansion. Above, video slot machines are seen at Resorts World Casino in Queens on July 27, 2012. Photo Credit: Nancy Borowick

ALBANY - With Nassau and Suffolk counties each having issues siting new betting parlors to house video slot machines, state lawmakers are weighing a proposal that effectively would say local zoning boards have no authority over Long Island off-tracking betting venues, legislators said Wednesday.

Supporters of the idea were trying to get it included in a bill before the Legislature adjourns for the year either Wednesday or Thursday, said legislators who oppose the proposal but wished to remain anonymous because the issue hadn't been resolved. It's one of numerous issues that remained open as lawmakers rushed to bring the 2015 session to a close.

"It won't go over well" with some legislators, predicted one opponent.

Nassau and Suffolk each received approval in 2013 to open gambling parlors with up to 1,000 video slot machines, also called video lottery terminals, as part of the state's massive gambling expansion. But the idea ran into roadblocks on Long Island once officials began trying to pick specific sites.

For example, Nassau Off-Track Betting Corp., which estimates the gambling parlors will generate $20 million in new revenue for Nassau County, withdrew a proposal to use a vacant Fortunoff property in Westbury after vocal protests.

One Long Island Republican, Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James), has called for withdrawing authorization for video slots on the Island altogether, citing the Westbury backlash.

With Michael Gormley

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