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Nassau County residents protest a proposed casino near Hofstra University

video lottery terminals
Courtesy of Pexels

Nassau County residents rallied Monday in opposition of a proposed casino in the area surrounding the former Nassau Coliseum. Sands Corp. announced plans earlier this year to build an entertainment destination, including a casino, in the Nassau Hub.

Protestors said the casino would bring increased traffic and crime to the area, as well as create possible gambling problems for young people.

Chandra Washington said she is worried about Hofstra University being located just down the road from the property in Uniondale.

“Young people are already coping with growing problems, and a casino would only exacerbate those concerns.”

Open letters from the school’s Board of Trustees and Student Government Association called the location totally inappropriate, and a threat to student safety and mental health.

The casino would account for a small portion of the entertainment center. Built by Las Vegas Sands, it would also include restaurants, a hotel and spa, a concert venue and more.

Nassau resident Steve Rolston said he believes the property could be used in better ways.

“In 2023, we can do much better than that," Rolston said. "So let's look for better projects. Something that serves the people, and does not degrade people.”

County Executive Bruce Blakeman is weighing the proposal. He previously noted the facility would bring thousands of union jobs to the region, as well as educational opportunities for hospitality students from nearby universities.

"We are grateful for the community support we have received to date around our proposal for a world-class resort and entertainment center at the Nassau Hub — and we are proud that the coalition of Long Island supporters continues to grow through our meetings with civic leaders, small business owners, and youth empowerment programs," Ron Reese, senior vice president of global communications and corporate affairs for Sands, said in a statement.

While Hofstra is rejecting the casino, Long Island University and Nassau Community College have announced a partnership to create a hospitality management program for students.

"It is our goal to make this proposal a truly collaborative one that all Long Islanders can be proud of, and we are eager to continue the process and share ideas with all interested groups," Reese continued.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.