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Islandia board to propose new village code governing casino

Patrons play the machines at Jake's 58 hotel

Patrons play the machines at Jake's 58 hotel video lottery casino in Islandia on Feb. 27, 2017. Credit: Barry Sloan

The village of Islandia has called a special board of trustees meeting for Monday afternoon to introduce a local law related to the Suffolk OTB video-lottery casino at Jake’s 58 hotel.

The proposed law would amend the village code to include a “hotel/gaming facility” as a permitted use in the village’s office and industrial district, according to a notice posted on the village website last Friday.

The meeting comes after a Sept. 8 state Supreme Court ruling that the village acted improperly when it granted the casino’s permit as an accessory use of the hotel. No other Long Island hotels house casinos, according to the ruling.

Jake’s 58, Long Island’s first and only casino, has 1,000 terminals, the state’s maximum, in about 40,000 square feet that previously was the Islandia Marriott Long Island hotel. It was purchased by Buffalo-based Delaware North last year. In August 2016, the village approved plans for the casino and it opened in February.

Suffolk OTB officials have said that the casino was integral to helping the bankrupt agency pay off about $15 million in debt. Recent monthly revenue has surpassed $200 million.

The future of the casino on the Long Island Expressway north service road, which opened in February, is uncertain. Opponents including residents and local civic groups sued last year over the special permit granted by the village. The casino remains open pending the village’s appeal of the court ruling.

The proposed law would also clearly define “game room” and “hotel/gaming facility” and set parking requirements for that use.

A full copy of the local law was not available. Mayor Allan M. Dorman could not be reached for comment on Sunday afternoon. Village Attorney Joseph Prokop on Sunday declined to comment on whether the proposed local law was related to the village’s appeal.

Paul Sabatino, a Huntington Station-based attorney representing casino opponents, said Sunday that it was unclear what the village board intends to achieve with this local law. If its goal is to influence the appellate decision, it is a “crazy and desperate” action, he said.

“They can’t overturn the decision by passing another local law,” Sabatino said. “It certainly looks like they are trying to cut some legal corners.”

The meeting will be held at 3 p.m. at Village Hall, 1100 Old Nichols Rd., in Islandia.

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