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Long Island Casino Rift Intensifies As Blakeman Fires At Hofstra

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Posted on: March 1, 2024, 11:38h. 

Last updated on: March 1, 2024, 12:05h.

The divide between supporters of a Long Island casino plan and opposition groups, including Hofstra University, widened this week as Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman (R) continued to claim the college is colluding with a group angling for a Queens casino permit to stifle the similar effort on Long Island.

Hofstra
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman (center) reiterated allegations that Hofstra University is intentionally trying to wreck plans for a Long Island casino. (Image: YouTube)

At a Thursday news conference, Blakeman reiterated claims made last month that representatives of Hofstra have been in touch with a lobbyist with ties to New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International, the bidders for a Queens casino license, as part of a potentially conspiratorial effort to damage Las Vegas Sands’ hopes of building an integrated resort in Nassau County.

The nickname for Hofstra is the Pride,” said Blakeman at the media event. “There’s nothing to be proud about today in the administration of Hofstra University. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s shameful. They completely misled and lied to the public. What a poor lesson for the students of Hofstra University.”

Blakeman, a Republican, has long supported the Sands casino plan and criticized Hofstra President Susan Poser for implying students can’t make their own decisions about betting while implying the school is working behind the scenes to stunt a gaming venue from residing in Nassau County.

Wild Week in Long Island Casino Fight

Blakeman’s press conference capped what’s been an eventful week in the tussle to bring an integrated resort to the site of Nassau Coliseum.

Last Friday, New York State Supreme Court Justice Sarika Kapoor reiterated her previous ruling striking down the lease transfer agreement on the Coliseum between the county and Sands. Earlier this week, former Gov. David Paterson (D-NY), a lobbyist for LVS and a Hofstra Law School alumnus, said the school barred him from speaking at a conference there due to his employment with the casino operator.

Blakeman said backers of the Long Island casino effort aren’t afraid of competing bids, of which there are plenty in New York. Likewise, organized labor believes the project could be a boon for the region, which is suffering population attrition.

“Folks, we need jobs and careers, union careers that allow people to stay. The Sands Integrated Resort proposal delivers exactly that,” said Ryan Stanton, executive director of the Long Island Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, at the press conference.

Opposition Groups Make Their Voices Heard

“Say No to the Casino,”  a group that’s consistently opposed the Long Island casino plan, said Blakeman’s Thursday news conference was nothing more than a public relations stunt to distract from the fact many locals don’t want a gaming venue in Nassau County.

The group added that allegations of collusion between Hofstra and Hard Rock International are false and that attacks against Poser are “politically motivated.”

“Mr. Blakeman’s false accusations today that Hofstra colluded with Steve Cohen is nothing short of defamatory. Enough is enough,” according to a statement issued by the organization. “The County’s dirty fight to win a casino license is unfairly targeting a prestigious academic institution that has sought to defend its student body and neighboring communities from the significant, pervasive, negative impacts that casinos bring.”

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