Patrons take to the slot machines at Jake's 58 Hotel...

Patrons take to the slot machines at Jake's 58 Hotel And Casino in Islandia, Feb. 27, 2017. Credit: Barry Sloan

A state Supreme Court justice has ruled that Islandia village officials erred last year when they granted a permit for Suffolk OTB’s casino at Jake’s 58 hotel.

Justice William G. Ford, in a decision dated Sept. 8, said the casino should not have received a special permit because it could not be considered an “accessory use” that is necessary for the hotel’s operation. The Islandia Village Board had granted that permit in August 2016.

“Local standards, of course, may change over time. Until then, Delaware North’s attempt to shoehorn its application to fit the existing law regarding accessory uses is a bridge too far,” Ford said, referring to the casino’s Buffalo-based operator.

Ford’s decision was announced Thursday by lawyers representing casino opponents who had sued the village over the permit and other issues.

It was not immediately clear what Ford’s decision would mean for the casino, which remains open.

Ford scheduled an Oct. 5 conference with lawyers representing the village and casino opponents. The village has until Dec. 8 to appeal.

In an email, Paul Sabatino of Huntington Station, a lawyer for casino opponents, said Ford’s decision was “a huge victory for the rule of law and sends a powerful message that ordinary taxpayers can successfully fight the unholy alliance of big money and unprincipled politicians.”

Islandia Mayor Allan M. Dorman and Village Attorney Joseph Prokup did not return calls for comment.

Suffolk County Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. president Phil Nolan declined to comment. Suffolk OTB officials have said the casino would help the bankrupt agency pay off $15 million in debt.

The casino last month generated $219.14 million in gross revenue, according to state Gaming Commission records.

In his decision, Ford said Islandia officials should not have approved the permit because they had failed to show that casinos are “customarily incidental” to the operation of hotels. Ford added “no such finding is possible” because no other Long Island hotels have casinos.

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