WE DID IT!
We will keep you updated here and on the Floral Park Village Facebook page.
DEAL STRUCK TO END NASSAU CASINO PLAN
The fight is over.
This article is quoted in its entirety from an original publication in LI Newsday on March 30, 2016 by Yancey Roy and Robert Brodsky. It can also be read in the original form HERE.
ALBANY — Nassau County will transfer its authority to install 1,000 video slot machines to Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens in exchange for annual payments that will total at least $41 million over the first three years, under a deal being discussed as part of a state budget agreement, lawmakers said late Wednesday. The deal would resolve thorny problems for the county, Nassau Off-Track Betting Corp. and Aqueduct.
The arrangement would solve Nassau’s problem of finding a location for a video slots parlor — which has been met with staunch opposition at more than one proposed site — while guaranteeing the county a revenue stream through OTB. Further, it alleviates Aqueduct’s concern with facing slots competition from nearby Belmont Park, the racetrack where Nassau recently proposed to use for slots.
Under the proposed terms, Genting New York LLC, which operates the Resorts World casino at Aqueduct, would get the authority to add 1,000 “video lottery terminals” to the 5,000 it already has at the track.
Resorts World would pay Nassau County Off-Track Betting $9 million in 2016, $9 million in $2017 and $25 million in 2018. Future payments would be $25 million plus an amount adjusted for inflation, officials said.
“It’s a fantastic deal,” said Sen. Jack Martins (R-Westbury). “It’s a deal that works for all sides. Nassau County gets the benefit of the revenue stream without having the facility in Nassau. … Obviously, no place in Nassau County was willing to take the VLTs, so at some point, we had to realize that and, frankly, this was a great opportunity.”
The transfer would be included as part of a state budget deal lawmakers are negotiating at the State Capitol. They were trying to finalize it by Thursday.
“If we have a state budget, this will be in it,” Martins said.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano called it a “good resolution.”
Opponents of the Belmont casino expressed relief at the deal.
Assemb. Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont), who sponsored legislation to kill the VLT authority, said the agreement “balances the need for revenue with the need to protect the community.”
Floral Park Mayor Thomas Tweedy, a vocal critic, called the agreement “the best possible deal for Nassau County and its residents.”
Nassau and Suffolk counties received authority to operate up to 1,000 video slot machines under a 2013 gambling-expansion law. But the counties have run into road blocks with proposed sites.
Nassau OTB first selected the vacant Fortunoff building in Westbury, but abandoned it after a wave of protests. Last fall, OTB switched its sites to Belmont, figuring slots would be compatible at a horse racing track. But again, neighbors have held vocal rallies denouncing the proposal. Meanwhile, the county has been missing out on tens of millions of dollars in potential revenue.
ANother Rally Held in Opposition
Local residents once again showed their strong opposition to the proposition of VLT's at Blemont Race Track, this time in a rally at Belmont Race Track's Gate 3. Public Officials, members of the Belmont Task Force, and members of Floral Park's grass roots movement worked together to coordinate a strong presence on March 26. They also coordinated a twitter campaign with the hashtag #NoCasinosLI. The protest received coverage on Fios 1, CBS 2, and others. Thank you to all those who took time out of their busy Saturday to support this cause. Click on the links for more rally stories by Casino News Daily, LIHerald, and LI Newsday.
Residents speak out at March Legislator Meeting
voices heard at town and county meetings
Local elected officials and residents added their voices to a Nassau Legislators Meeting on February 22. We applaud Mr. David Fowler, Sewanhaka High School District School Board President; Lynn Pombonyo, Floral Park Trustee; Judy Sanford-Dice, N. Valley Stream; and a gentleman, whose name we unfortunately did not catch, but whose time and effort are immensely appreciated. Newsday's Richard Brodsky tweeted about the now constant presence of anti-VLT proponents (and their signs) in the audiences of these meetings.
Belmont Task Force members and residents also attended the Town of Hempstead public meeting on February 23 in the morning, and the Town of North Hempstead meeting the same evening (read Trustee Kevin Fitzgerald's speech here). It is our fervent desire to be heard as often and as clearly as possible. Thank you to everyone who continues to work against this proposal, your time and efforts are much appreciated. Find a list of updated meeting dates and times on the Take Action page.
Grass roots organized March on Belmont a Tremendous Success.
On January 30, the grass roots organization, No Casino at Belmont Park, staged a community march around the western and southern perimeter of Belmont Park, with hundreds of community members in attendance. Neighbors from Floral Park, Elmont, Bellerose, Valley Stream, Franklin Square and more, marched to the cry of "We say NO, no casiNO!" While the grass-roots effort and the Task Force are fighting the same battle, it is occasionally happening on separate fronts. The Belmont Task Force were not involved in the planning of this event, but those members who could attend, did, and we congratulate this group on a successful event. Newsday immediately published this article online. (Photo cred: Steve Probst, Newsday.com)
The march garnered a good deal of media attention, which will hopefully help legislators understand the need to fully listen to the communities where this ill-conceived project is proposed. The LI Herald also published an article about the march, and covered both sides of the VLT project opinions.
COMMUNITY members spoke once again at the legislature meeting
Residents of Floral Park, Elmont, Bellerose, and Valley Stream, to name a few, spoke out at the Nassau County Legislature meeting on January 25, 2016. Speakers and Legislator Solages called for an emergency vote to remove and replace OTB Board members immediately, but the call to action was to no avail. Thank you to the members who stood up and spoke on all of our behalf. You can watch the entire meeting here.
VIEW THE COMMUNITY RALLY ON 4VS.
Live interview on LI News Radio January 15, 2016, with Floral Park's Mayor Tom Tweedy.
LOCAL RESIDENTS PROTEST PROPOSED CASINO AT BELMONT PARK
Floral Park mayor touts efforts against Belmont casino
The excerpt below was originally posted on The Island Now, Thursday, January 21, 2016 11:31 am | Updated: 11:32 am, Thu Jan 21, 2016 in an article by Adedamola Agboola.
Read complete article here.
Floral Park Mayor Thomas Tweedy on Tuesday praised the strong response from village residents who came out in numbers to decry the Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation’s plans to install some 1,000 video gambling machines in Belmont Park. “It really was amazing. Floral Park is a special place. It really is a
special place and we think that too,” said Tweedy, who was in attendance at the rally. “But it wasn’t just Floral Park. We had people from South Floral Park, we had people from Elmont and other communities in Long Island.”
Long-shot odds for OTB future
This editorial was originally published in Newsday's Long Island section on January 15, 2016. Take away message? "Let the OTBs die."