New York State Judge overturns lease approval for Sands’ planned $4B resort in Nassau County

A Thursday ruling by Supreme Court Judge Sarika Kapoor has nullified the Nassau County government’s approval of a 99-year lease agreement that would have allowed Sands to construct a $4 billion casino complex at the site of the Nassau Coliseum.

Judge Kapoor’s decision was particularly significant for Hofstra University, the institution that spearheaded the legal action in April. Located near the Nassau Coliseum, the university campus strongly opposes the casino project, citing inadequate notifications and environmental reviews prior to the spring votes.

According to the judge, the project’s approval overlooked essential procedures such as public meetings and prior environmental analyses, as required by law. “Respondents violated both the Open Meetings Law and SEQRA [State Environmental Quality Review Act] in approving the lease transfer,” Kapoor stated in her 32-page opinion.

Hofstra’s president, Susan Poser, expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision: “The court recognized the public’s right to participate in decision-making about the current redevelopment plan for the Nassau Hub.”

“We look forward to contributing to the planning process and advocating for the use of the Hub in ways that will best contribute to our thriving community, while protecting against environmental and other harms.”

This decision comes after the recent announcement by Steve Cohen, owner of the Mets, of his bid to build an $8 billion casino and entertainment complex near Citi Field, as part of a rebranded Metropolitan Park.

This move underscores the growing competition among gaming operators to secure one of the three coveted state licenses for the New York metropolitan area, including Long Island and the northern suburbs.

Nassau County has not yet issued an official comment on the decision. However, Sands declared that it would not be discouraged and promised to continue outreach efforts in the Long Island community.

Las Vegas Sands is proceeding proudly and enthusiastically with our proposal for an integrated resort and entertainment center at the Nassau Hub. We are grateful for the wonderful response we have received from the Long Island community and we will be continuing our very comprehensive outreach as we present this transformational project,” the company stated.

With the lease now void, Nassau County planning officials are left to start new hearings with the county legislature and vote again if they want to approve it.