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New Islandia location for video lottery terminals makes sense

The Islandia Marriott Hotel is being considered for

The Islandia Marriott Hotel is being considered for a video lottery terminal casino. Above, a view of the hotel on Thursday, June 23, 2016. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

It seems homeowners would fight a video slot parlor on a satellite circling the Earth if it passed over Nassau or Suffolk counties.

The latest battle is over Suffolk County Regional Off-Track Betting Corp.’s plan to install 1,000 video lottery terminals at the Islandia Marriott — a spot better than most. The hotel is north of the nearby Long Island Expressway, while almost all Islandia’s 3,300 residents live south of the highway. Proximity to the LIE and Motor Parkway means easy access. The host fee, likely to be set at $2.25 million a year, would be about $2,200 per household, almost enough to cover the village budget, along with millions more in revenue for the county.

But does what makes sense matter? Every location seriously considered on Long Island was workable: Belmont Park or the old Fortunoff store in Westbury would have worked for Nassau OTB, as would the Medford property that Suffolk OTB bought and now has in reserve.

At an Islandia Village hearing last week, people derided the Marriott plan, citing possible crime, traffic and declining property values, but many weren’t even from Islandia. A few were the same activists who fought the Medford site, a foolish move because the bankrupt Suffolk OTB will have to refocus its energies there if it fails in Islandia.

The village board was due to vote Tuesday on a permit for the betting parlor, but canceled that meeting, either to get legal details straight or buy time to sell the plan. Either way, the board and mayor need to inform the public and get the permitting right so the village and county can realize their windfalls.

This is the best location for Suffolk’s VLT parlor — at least on Earth. — The editorial board


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