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Las Vegas Sands takes another step toward NY resort project

Updated April 27, 2023 - 10:03 pm

New York’s Nassau County signed a preliminary 99-year lease agreement with Las Vegas Sands Corp. for use of its 80-acre Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum site for development of an integrated resort with a casino on Long Island.

In a news conference in New York on Wednesday, Sands Chairman and CEO Rob Goldstein and Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman explained that the agreement was the first step in Sands’ bid to apply for one of three downstate New York gaming licenses overseen by New York’s Gaming Facility Location Board.

Securing the Nassau Coliseum site will require approval of the 19-member Nassau County Legislature, which is scheduled to address the issue May 22.

The company offered no new details about the project Wednesday.

Nassau Coliseum, which was home to the NHL’s New York Islanders until 2021, is a 16,000-seat arena that hosts graduations, minor league professional basketball games and lacrosse matches.

In January, Sands said its Long Island development would include outdoor community spaces, four- and five-star hotel rooms and a world-class live performance venue honoring the legacy of live music at Nassau Coliseum.

The company said the resort property would also feature celebrity chef restaurants, experiential events and venues and flexible meeting and convention space, including ballrooms. Other amenities would include casino gaming, which is planned to represent less than 10 percent of the project’s total square footage, a luxury day spa, swimming pool and health club, and a variety of entertainment programming.

“Our company’s track record of driving significant economic benefits to the communities in which we operate and the meaningful relationships and partnerships we have created in each of those communities gives us a unique perspective on what it takes to develop transformative tourism destinations that positively impact the local community,” Goldstein said when the project was introduced.

If the Nassau County Legislature approves the lease agreement, Sands would still need to bid for one of the state’s new licenses. Competition is expected to be fierce, with Las Vegas- and Nevada-based companies in the running.

Among the expected entrants are Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International, the Strip’s largest casino operator; Reno-based Caesars Entertainment Inc., the second-largest operator of Strip casino properties; Wynn Resorts Ltd., which has two Strip resorts and Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Massachusetts; Genting Group, operators of Resorts World Las Vegas; Hard Rock International, owned by Florida’s Seminole Indian Tribe, which is rebranding The Mirage into a Hard Rock Hotel; Bally’s Corp., which operates Tropicana Las Vegas and is building a casino in Chicago; and Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming.

While New York’s Gaming Facility Location Board is expected to spend most of 2023 overseeing the bid process, Goldstein said in Sands’ first quarter earnings call this month that he doesn’t expect to know if Sands made the cut until early next year.

The Review-Journal is owned by the Adelson family, including Dr. Miriam Adelson, majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., and Las Vegas Sands President and COO Patrick Dumont.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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