This week Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. (OTB) announced that their choice for a slots parlor location would be the legendary Belmont Park, a state-run racing and entertainment facility, and home of the Belmont Stakes. State lawmakers will be lobbied in 2016 to approve a 100,000 square foot permanent slot parlor to be located in the Grandstand on the western end. The machines would be video lottery terminals that emulate true random number generator slot play.
The OTB has been searching for the best placement for as many as 1,000 machines for two years, finally settling on Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
In a statement Tuesday, OTB officials said that after careful review and an exhaustive study that the OTB strongly believes that Belmont Park is the best possible site for the location of a Video Lottery Terminal facility. They added that the addition would enhance the facility that has offered horse wagering for over a century and would bring other first class amenities.
$20 million in gambling revenue has already been penciled into the Nassau County budget for 2016, according to local reports. Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said in a statement that, “Belmont Park is a logical selection as the existing gambling facility is underutilized.”
Some other elected officials were not so keen on the idea saying the move would not be a good fit for the local community and would increase crime and traffic while straining public services with very little in return to the local economy. It’s unclear how revenues would be distributed.
If permitted, the OTB would first build a 15,000 sq ft temporary parlor to generate revenue while the permanent facility is constructed.
Nassau and Suffolk county OTB’s have had permission from lawmakers since 2013 to open video lottery terminal ‘slot parlors’ in their respective counties but have both met resistance and opposition from local residents and lawmakers. Recently a judge ordered Brookhaven Town and Suffolk County officials to accept Suffolk OTB’s building permit application and to issue the permit if it “conforms to the standards” of its uniform code.
Video lottery terminals were first proposed for the facility in 2007. In 2009 the Shinnecock Indian tribe announced they were considering a casino for Belmont Park and in 2012 announced plans for a full-blown casino there, only to be met with resounding opposition. As recently as February the Floral Park community reiterated their stance against gambling (.PDF) in their community.