New York Judge Blocks Transfer of Nassau Coliseum Lease

On November 10, 2023, the New York State Supreme Court justice made a decision to invalidate a lease transfer agreement for the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. This site was intended to be used by Las Vegas Sands for the construction of a $4 billion casino hotel. The court ruling stated that Nassau County failed to properly consider public opinion and did not focus on the potential impact that a gaming venue could have on the surrounding communities.

The previous lease agreement was approved by the Republican-controlled Nassau County legislators with a vote of 17-1 in favor of granting Sands a 99-year lease for the development of county-owned land. Sands had already made significant payments in order to secure the lease, including $241 million to the former lease holder, Nassau Live Center LLC, as well as $54 million to the county as required by the lease agreement.

Despite the court ruling, Sands remains committed to its plans for a casino in Nassau County and believes that the decision will not hinder its chances of obtaining a gaming permit in the state of New York. However, the ruling has brought to light the fact that Nassau County did not adequately assess the potential environmental impact and other concerns related to the proposed casino.

The Say NO to the Casino Civic Association, a group opposing the casino effort in Nassau County, has called for environmental and traffic impact studies to be conducted following the Supreme Court ruling. They argue that a gaming venue could lead to increased crime, environmental harm, and traffic issues in the area.

The court ruling has added to the chaos surrounding the process of awarding casino licenses in New York. It is now expected that the decision on the winning bidders for the casino licenses may be pushed off to 2025. Additionally, other casino bids in the state, such as MGM’s Empire City Casino in Yonkers and Genting’s Resorts World New York in Queens, could face obstacles due to legal issues. The Say NO to Casino Civic Association hopes that the ruling will serve as a warning for other casino efforts in New York and that state officials will take into account the impacts of these projects on local communities.