Las Vegas Sands Signs Lease For Potential Casino Site at New York’s Nassau Coliseum in Long Island
Las Vegas Sands has signed a preliminary lease on an 80-acre prospective casino site in Nassau County, Long Island, New York. The international operator is part of the ongoing race for one of New York state’s new physical casino resort licenses in the downstate area.
Sands will take over the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum site and its 16,000-seat stadium in Uniondale, near Hempstead. The Coliseum, once home to the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League, hasn’t hosted a major league sports game since 2021.
Sands has reached an agreement for the site lease on a 99-year deal. However, that won’t be finalized until the Nassau County Legislature votes on the sale later in May.
Sands then intends to build a $4 billion casino and resort complex on the site, if they are granted a New York license.
Race for Licensing
Regardless of the outcome of the approval process, no ground will be broken until at least 2024. That’s because any work is conditional on Sands gaining one of three New York casino licenses that are up for grabs.
Two of the licenses are widely expected to be “grandfathered” in for the state’s existing horse racing track operators, Empire City Casino in Yonkers and Resorts World New York City in Queens. Genting, owner of Resorts World, has reportedly already earmarked $1 billion for development on its New York City site.
Unlike other proposals for New York casinos, the existing gambling venues face little opposition from locals to their expansion. State legislators already have preexisting arrangements with them, and amenities like parking are already set up. This all adds up to make them the easiest choice for regulators issuing the new licenses.
And, of course, it also heats up the competition for that third license.
Las Vegas Sands is one bidder with this proposed site in Long Island. But others include big names like MGM, Caesars, and Wynn Resorts. Some of the proposals are backed by famous investors, too, such as Caesars’ prospective partnership with New York hip-hop icon Jay-Z’s Roc Nation.
As with many of the NYC casino proposals, the Nassau County site has strong supporters and detractors among local residents and politicians.
“This operation will be a catalyst for a revival of all our communities,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said at a meeting last week, as reported by the Long Island Herald.
“We believe that that will bring jobs, economic prosperity, tax relief, and improved safety here in Nassau County,” he added.
However, the plan faces stiff opposition from the local Hoftsra University, whose main campus is less than a mile away from the proposed casino site.
They are currently suing Nassau County over their handling of planning discussions, accusing them of a “lack of transparency”.
Rents and Fees
Whichever hopeful casino operator can assuage local opposition to clinch the license, it will face no insignificant financial investment in setting up after.
As part of Sands’ deal with Nassau, the County is guaranteed $5 million annually until any license is approved and building starts. Then rent rises to $10 million, and Sands will have to pay a $54 million lump sum. If or when any casino opens its doors, rent will rise again to $25 million a year.
That’s a potential $100 million in County fees alone in the first three years. Also added to Sands’ potential expenses will be the $500 million in license fees to the State, and the projected $4 billion it wants to invest in constructing the casino and resort.
That shows just how much casino operators think a full New York site could earn as a long-term investment.