Nassau County Exec Bruce Blakeman Unveils Plans for New Sands Lease

Posted on: May 2, 2024, 11:33h. 

Last updated on: May 3, 2024, 08:52h.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said earlier this week his office is working on an amended lease agreement between the county and Las Vegas Sands that could smooth the gaming firm’s efforts to win one of three downstate casino licenses in New York.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman says the county is working on a new lease agreement for Nassau Hub with Las Vegas Sands. (Image: YouTube)

The announcement arrived about a week after it became clear the county would work with the County Planning Commission and the legislature to alter the previously reached agreement with Sands for the rights to Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. That’s where the gaming company is hoping to build a $6 billion casino hotel.

Sands paid $241 million for the lease rights to Nassau Hub, but last November, New York State Supreme Court Justice Sarika Kapoor struck down the agreement, ruling it violated the state’s environmental review and open meetings laws.

That litigation was brought by Hofstra University, which is located near the Coliseum and which has been a vocal critic of a gaming venue opening in Nassau County.

Delays Could Work in County’s, Sands’ Favor

Last May, Nassau County legislators voted 17-1 in favor of granting Sands a 99-year lease to develop county-owned land on the Nassau Hub site, confirming there’s strong bipartisan support for the Long Island casino hotel idea.

When Kapoor’s ruling came down and was later upheld, there was speculation that Sands’ efforts to win one of the three New York City-area casino permits could be stymied due to the time it often takes the state’s high courts to work through environmental review cases.

However, LVS and Nassau County as well as other competitors needing more time to deal with land and other issues may have been thrown a lifeline by the state’s highly criticized, slow-moving bidding process.

Entering this year, it was hoped that there would be clarity on the bidding process — if not decisions — before the end of 2024. Now, it appears as though that could extend into late 2025, if not beyond. Understandably, that’s not to the liking of gaming companies, boroughs, and counties banking on a new revenue source, but the added time gives Nassau County and LVS flexibility to hammer a lease agreement that can withstand legal scrutiny.

Sands, Nassau County are on Same Page

Throughout the legal maneuverings brought by Hofstra and New York regulatory confusion, Nassau County leaders and Sands have remained committed to bringing the casino hotel concept idea to life.

We are grateful for the extraordinary and diverse support our proposal continues to receive and look forward to working with all parties involved to move this transformational development forward,” Sands said in a statement on Thursday. “We remain committed to being a collaborative partner and excellent neighbor to the organizations and residents of Nassau County.”

Blakeman added that the county is “fully committed” to working with Sands to bring the integrated resort idea across the finish line.