Sands Considering Long Island for Downstate Casino License

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A general view outside the UBS Arena in Elmont, Long Island, New York. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/AFP

The competition for a third downstate casino license is hot and heavy, with many of the gaming titans eyeing Manhattan, as ground zero for a gleaming new gambling palace at the heart of New York’s betting scene.

But Sands Hotel & Casino has at least one executive talking about Long Island as a more reasonable location.

Sands Checks Out of Sin City

The chief architect of the new-look Sands that morphed into the sprawling Las Vegas Strip casino resort, the Venetian, and the tony boutique hotel, the Palazzo, was entrepreneur Sheldon Adelson, who bought the original Sands in 1989 along with his partners Irwin Chafetz, Ted Cutler, Richard Katzeff, and Jordan Shapiro.

But once Adelson passed away in 2021, it took only two months for Sands execs to divest themselves of their American properties and focus exclusively on their international assets, primarily in the Far East gambling mecca of Macau, including the Sands Macau, The Londoner Macau, The Venetian Macau, The Plaza Macau, and The Parisian Macau. They also own the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Sands sold the Venetian, as well as the Sands Expo and Convention Center, to Apollo Global Management and Vici Properties in a deal reportedly in the neighborhood of $6.25 billion. At the time of the deal, Sands CEO Robert Goldstein said, “The Venetian changed the face of future casino development and cemented Sheldon Adelson’s legacy as one of the most influential people in the history of the gaming and hospitality industry.”

On Second Thought

But the moment it was announced that New York would be issuing three downstate casino licenses, there was plenty of interest, including the empire builders at Sands. Despite a licensing fee that could be over $1 billion and an onerous tax rate, the opportunity and cachet of operating New York’s biggest casino in the heart of Manhattan was too tempting for the major players to pass up.

Goldstein spoke earlier this year about Sands corporate reboot, vis a vis, the U.S. market. “No, I think we remain a believer in that market, and the process is taking longer than I thought it would.

“But hopefully, it will come to — hopefully, this year or early next, we’ll know what’s happening there. Now, still, the density of population and the ethnicity and the access in New York makes it very appealing and lack of capacity still remains a premier market in my mind, if we can get there.

“A lot of competition, we’re one of many in the hunt there. So, nothing new to report. We have a plan in place. We’re executing to it. Let’s wait for the RFP to unfold. So, we have nothing new in New York.”

How Things Change

Fast forward to last week and former New York Governor, David Paterson, who is now a senior vice president with Sands, has made it clear that his preference for a downstate casino would not be in Queens or Manhattan but in Long Island.

He cites community opposition in the boroughs in addition to the big city traffic and congestion as reasons to look elsewhere. We don’t know where the location is at this point,” Paterson told Newsday. “But I’m the one who suggested that they (Sands) look at Long Island because of all the congestion in Manhattan.”

The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the UBS Arena/Belmont Park area in Elmont are two sites rumored to be attractive to Sands.

Bookmakers Review will continue to monitor this story and keep our readers updated as events unfold.