Las Vegas Sands Eyes Nassau Coliseum as Site for New York Casino

Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) confirmed Thursday that its plan to bring a casino-hotel to downstate New York will focus on western Long Island.

Sands
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. Las Vegas Sands wants to turn the site into a casino hotel. (Image: Steven Ryan/AP)

The world’s largest casino operator by market capitalization said it entered into agreements to acquire the long-term leases pertaining to the site that’s home to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Those transactions still need to be approved and would grant Sands control of as many as 80 acres in Nassau County.

The integrated resort components of a Long Island development would include outdoor community spaces, four and five-star hotel rooms and a world-class live performance venue honoring the long legacy of live music at the Nassau Coliseum,” according to a statement issued by the Las Vegas-based casino operator.

Located next to the Meadowbrook Parkway and just a few miles from the borough of Queens, Nassau Coliseum was home to the NHL’s New York Islanders from 1972 to 2015. The venue is currently home to the Brooklyn Nets’ G League affiliate and the New York Riptide of the National Lacrosse League.

Nassau Coliseum Redevelopment Efforts

For nearly 20 years, RXR Realty worked on plans to repurpose the coliseum, and Sands is planning to reestablish the developer’s local connections, including working groups, as it moves forward with the integrated resort proposal.

“Our proposed project would be designed to produce tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue for the local community on an annual basis, potentially offering property tax relief for residents,” said LVS CEO Rob Goldstein in a statement. “The project would also provide a lift for local businesses through a robust procurement program and support a broad range of community organizations and causes.”

The gaming operator’s intent to bid for a New York City-area casino permit was well-known. But the focus on Long Island is more recent and potentially prudent. Last month, former New York Gov. David Paterson (D), now a senior vice president at the gaming company, said he’d push his employer to consider Long Island.

Last week, momentum appeared for the Long Island plan and there are benefits, including Nassau County’s proximity to major airports, as well as the county’s status as the second-largest in the state.

Why Nassau Coliseum Could Be a Smart Bet for Sands

The lay of the land for New York’s downstate casino permits as is follows. The government there recently opened the request for applications (RFAs) process, and winning bidders will need to commit to a project of at least $500 million while paying the same amount for an initial license.

It’s widely believed that two of the three permits will be allocated to MGM Resorts’ Empire City in Yonkers and Resorts World New York City, meaning Sands and rivals are vying for a single license.

On that note, Nassau Coliseum could prove to be a smart bet for Las Vegas Sands, because it’s not yet drawing the opposition that is tied to efforts to bring a casino to Citi Field or Times Square.