Las Vegas Sands Request for Long Island Tax Breaks Draws Ire

Posted on: June 4, 2023, 07:05h. 

Last updated on: June 5, 2023, 11:22h.

A Nassau County civic group claims it’s the “height of hypocrisy” for Las Vegas Sands to seek tax relief in its quest to build a $4 billion integrated resort in Uniondale, NY.

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Protestors at an anti-casino rally in Long Island. The Say NO to the Casino Civic Association opposes tax relief for Las Vegas Sands. (Image: ABC7 New York)

The “Say NO to the Casino Civic Association” issued a scathing statement after reports surfaced last week that Sands was seeking tax breaks. Reports said it could approach the Nassau County Industrial Development Association (IDA) with requests for sales tax relief on select items, and a reduction in the mortgage recording tax. Specifically, the gaming operator is said to be aiming for sales tax exemptions on construction equipment, raw materials, and furnishings for the yet-to-be-approved gaming venue.

It is the height of hypocrisy for one of the world’s most profitable casino companies, with a market capitalization of $45 billion (and majority owned by a billionaire worth more than $34 billion) to ask for “tax breaks” from Nassau County residents,” according to a statement issued by the anti-casino group.

The majority ownership being referenced by the civic organization is that of Dr. Miriam Adelson, Sheldon Adelson’s widow, and her family. They are the majority owners of Sands stock, which closed last Friday with a market value of $42.38 billion.

Group  Wants Sands to Pay its ‘Fair Share’

The “Say NO to the Casino Civic Association” claimed Las Vegas Sands is looking to skirt tax obligations to the county should it be awarded a gaming license. The group contends that the gaming company should be subject to the same levies as any other local business.

Nassau County has previously granted mortgage relief on Nassau Coliseum, the site where Sands is looking to build the casino hotel. Companies requesting sales tax relief in the early stages of large-scale projects is commonplace across the US.

“Now that Las Vegas Sands has been awarded the land lease, it doesn’t want to pay its fair share of sales tax and real estate taxes. The pervasive negative impacts that a casino will bring to our county will require significant additional government and community resources to address,” added “Say NO to the Casino Civic Association.”

While LVS will reportedly seek tax relief, the company is on the hook for a sizable cash payment to Nassau County. That’s regardless of its success in winning one of three downstate casino licenses.

Civic Organization Doesn’t See Value in Casino

The “Say NO to the Casino Civic Association” takes issue with the potential economic benefits of a Nassau County casino. It claims it will make money off of locals and contribute a meager percentage to the county’s annual budget.

If Las Vegas Sands is, unfortunately, awarded a gaming license, the annual payment Las Vegas Sands’ will make to Nassau County represents a mere 1.4% of the county’s budget, and now, they’re asking for an even better bargain,” noted the group.

Conversely, the venue will create thousands of jobs, resulting in elevated contributions to New York’s income tax collection efforts. Additionally, the casino resort’s convention space, entertainment, eateries, and rooms could be significant sales tax generators for Nassau County over the long haul.