Hofstra President Uses Tired Arguments to Blast Sands Long Island Casino Plan – Opinion
Posted on: May 8, 2023, 02:35h.
Last updated on: May 9, 2023, 12:22h.
Hofstra University President Susan Poser will appear before the Nassau County legislature Monday. She’s expected to rip a plan by Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) to build a new casino hotel near the college in her testimony.
Sands’ effort to develop a new gaming venue at the site of the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., is just a few months old. But in that brief period, Hofstra has become one of the most vocal dissenters.
The casino proposed by Las Vegas Sands runs directly counter to the interests of our local population and will create dangers rather than benefits,” according to draft of Poser’s testimony obtained by the New York Post.
In her opposition to Sands New York, Poser rehashes many ancient talking points used by anti-gaming groups across the US anytime a new casino is pitched, regardless of location. Those include bashing operators for allegedly only caring about profits and theories that casinos lead to increased crime, pollution, and traffic.
Debunking Anti-Long Island Casino Arguments
In her testimony, Poser is also expected to bash Las Vegas Sands for attempting to generate a profit on Long Island, while lambasting the operator for divesting its Las Vegas properties. The latter meaning its current portfolio is comprised entirely of five Macau integrated resorts and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
In 2021, Sands announced the sale of Venetian Resort and Sands Expo and Convention Center on the Las Vegas Strip to Apollo Global Management and VICI Properties for $6.25 billion.
However, couching that transaction in anti-US terms is inaccurate, as Sands executives have said they’re open to the idea of returning to Las Vegas in the future. Additionally, the operator is spending millions on the New York plan and on lobbying efforts in Texas. The company has also been tied to rumors regarding a North Florida casino hotel.
As for Sands’ desire to make money, that’s what companies do. As a publicly traded firm, Sands’ primary obligation is to be a good steward for its shareholders.
The environmental and traffic arguments are potentially specious, because any brick-and-mortar business occupying the planned casino site could contribute to those issues. A traffic study has yet to be conducted, and Sands chose to focus its New York efforts on Long Island to avoid contributing to motor vehicle congestion in Manhattan.
Increased Crime Far from Guaranteed
Anti-casino groups frequently play the crime card. But that argument isn’t linear, and should be evaluated on a case-by-case business.
In fact, data from a casino hotel to which Sands New York could be comparable suggests such venues don’t drive more local crime. Consultants for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) last week revealed findings pertaining to crime in five towns surrounding Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor and Everett, where the venue is located.
The study spanned September 2018 through July 2022, including the property’s June 2019 opening, temporary COVID-19 shutdown, and subsequent reopening and normal operation. Data indicated Encore Boston Harbor “has limited impact on crime in the region.”
Poser is also expected to plead with Nassau County policymakers to oppose the Long Island casino simply because it’s near Hofstra and other schools, including elementary and high schools. That argument is also dubious, because it assumes two things that are likely false. First, college students have the financial resources to indulge in frequent casino visits. Second, Sands won’t be proactive in terms of checking the identifications of younger-looking prospective patrons.
Using Encore Boston Harbor as the comparison, that venue is within a stone’s throw of several institutions of higher learning, including four-year and junior colleges.
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