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Fate of Islandia casino uncertain after vote canceled

A mini-casino has been proposed for the Islandia

A mini-casino has been proposed for the Islandia Marriott. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

The fate of a proposed Suffolk OTB mini-casino in Islandia remained uncertain Monday after village officials suddenly canceled a vote on the controversial project.

The village board was to have voted Tuesday night on a special permit to add the betting parlor to the Islandia Marriott Long Island hotel, on the north service road of the Long Island Expressway. The meeting was canceled over the weekend for reasons that remained unclear Monday, and village officials have not rescheduled the vote.

Delaware North, the Buffalo entertainment company developing the casino for Suffolk County Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., plans to buy the hotel and lease space for 1,000 video lottery terminals and a racing simulcast facility to OTB.

In a statement released Monday, Mayor Allan M. Dorman confirmed the vote was canceled and said, “The village continues to perform its due diligence with respect to the application from Delaware North to operate a casino at the Islandia Marriott.” The statement gave no additional details.

Dorman did not return a call for comment. Village attorney Joseph Prokop declined to elaborate on the reasons for canceling the vote.

“There’s no issues,” Prokop said in a phone interview. “The board is continuing to do its due diligence.”

In a statement Sunday, Delaware North spokesman Glen A. White said company officials “respect the village board’s process and its need for sufficient time to review information about our proposal.”

Most speakers at a July 5 public hearing opposed the casino, citing fears of increased crime and traffic and lower property values. Some village residents support the plan because it will create jobs and lower their taxes.

Bruce Edwards, president of the Ronkonkoma Civic Association and a casino opponent, said Dorman told him in a phone call Sunday that the board needs more time to examine the proposal.

“I think he was surprised by the lack of support that it had, and he was surprised by the surrounding communities not being in agreement,” Edwards said in an interview Monday. “I don’t know if he was just trying to lay low and hope that it would die down.”

Edwards said the canceled vote left him more optimistic the casino may be defeated.

“We’re in a better situation than we were a week ago,” he said.

Another opponent, Jennifer Tomasino of Islandia, said the canceled vote “just gives the board more time to do a proper hearing.

“They need to do their due diligence for our community and its residents,” she said in an email. “They are our board, the community put them there and we expect them to uphold their oath and uphold the values of this village.”

Suffolk OTB officials did not return calls for comment Monday. They have said they hope to open a temporary casino in Islandia with up to 300 VLTs within four months.


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