Blakeman announces plans to resubmit lease-transfer application for Las Vegas Sands casino in Nassau


Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman announced this week that his administration plans to submit a reworked lease-transfer application to the County Planning Commission and the legislature in an effort to re-approve the transfer in an effort to secure a downstate casino license for Las Vegas Sands at the Nassau Hub, by the book this time.

Coming one year after the initial agreement giving Las Vegas Sands control of the Coliseum property, which the gaming company reportedly paid $241 million for, and nearly six months after the initial ruling from Judge Sarika Kapoor — who ruled the county violated both the state's Open Meetings Law and the State Environmental Quality Review Act when they approved the transfer without holding a proper public hearing or an environmental review.

The county, according to Judge Sarika Kapoor, described the manner in which the county transferred the lease to Sands as “an attempt to avoid public scrutiny,” and ruled in Hofstra’s favor, who brought the lawsuit against the county and Sands last year.

That ruling, which was upheld in February, also declares that the Las Vegas Sands group does not have a valid lease to operate the Nassau Coliseum and the land around it, effectively making the lease transfer void and forcing the county to start the process over if they want to go through with Sands plans for the hub.

"We are asking that the planning commission commit to a fair and transparent process," Hofstra spokeswoman, Terry Coniglio, said at the time. "To this point, the planning commission's hearing did not comply with the law, and we have been forced to ask the court to ensure that the public receives the information it deserves, and a fair opportunity to be heard on this important matter."

Hofstra has been a loud critic of the casino plan since its inception, with the university’s legal maneuverings being viewed by some legal experts as a real potential threat to what has been widely considered one of the most viable and valuable downstate casino pitches available to the state.

Blakeman has also accused Hofstra and the university’s president, Susan Poser, of colluding with competing casino organization, Hard Rock Café Inc., in an effort to derail plans by Las Vegas Sands to redevelop the Nassau Coliseum, resulting in subpoenas and more legal drama for both Poser and the county executive.

Both Poser and Hard Rock deny Blakeman’s accusations.

But now, according to Blakeman, he has hope that by following the judges orders and reworking the county’s application, the lease transfer for the proposed $6 billion casino and resort will still be approved and Sands will be awarded one of the three downstate casino licenses up for grabs by the state in time.

That means starting the process from scratch. The county must now hold public meetings and go through voting all over again. Blakeman’s office did not have information on when the process would officially start over.

However, Blakeman and Sands both have time to get this done, as the state Gaming Commission has announced last month that they are delaying the bidding for downstate casino licenses and won’t be awarding them to applicants until the end of 2025 at the earliest — with Las Vegas Sands Chief Executive Officer, Robert Goldstein, calling the delays “confusing and disappointing.”

“In spite of delays and changing circumstances, we are fully committed to deal with Sands to bring a world-class hotel, entertainment center, casino and spa to Nassau County,” said Blakeman.

"We are grateful for the extraordinary and diverse support our proposal continues to receive and look forward to working with all parties involved to move this transformational development forward,” Sands said in a statement on Thursday. “We remain committed to being a collaborative partner and excellent neighbor to the organizations and residents of Nassau County.”