After facing strong opposition from Brookhaven town officials and civic leaders, Suffolk Off-Track Betting (OTB) is considering moving its planned 1,000 video lottery terminal (VLT) casino to the Marriott Hotel in Islandia.
At the prodding of Delaware North, the company financing and managing the project, Suffolk OTB officials are considering the move, to the relief of Brookhaven Town officials and civic leaders in Medford. Discussions are underway for Delaware North’s acquisition of the 278-room Marriott Hotel located between exists 57 and 58 on the north service road of the Long Island Expressway, according to Newsday. Islandia Mayor Allan Dorman said since he has yet to receive any word from Suffolk County OTB, there was no sense in commenting.
A cul-de-sac off Motor Parkway approximately a half mile south of Veterans Way, where six homes of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war reside with their families, is the location of the Islandia site. In 2014 the site was subject to a Suffolk County district attorney’s office criminal investigation. Officials discovered that during construction the year before, contaminated debris had been dumped at the site. The trial for the two men arrested in connection with the dumping is set to being next month. Attorney Peter Creedon, who is representing five of the six Veterans Way homeowners, said, discussions regarding the possibility of the casino being built near the homes is not an issue.
Plans to build the casino at the Medford site have been in the works for more than a year. The 31-acre site on the south side of the Long Island Expressway at exit 64 was purchased by Suffolk OTB in November of 2014. Since that time, the project has been the subject of heavy opposition from the Medford Taxpayer’s and Civic Association and the Town of Brookhaven. A suit was filed by the former in an attempt to block the project, but U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Carla E. Craig ordered Brookhaven and Suffolk County to accept and review plans for the facility on November 30, and to issue the permit if it “conforms to the standards” of its uniform code.
The OTB firm, a Suffolk Legislature appointed nonprofit, is relying on the 1,000 VLT’s to bring it out of bankruptcy. According to Brookhaven officials, who first became aware that Suffolk OTB was looking at Islandia for a possible casino site two months ago, resolution of the issues raised by the town planning department over OTB’s site plan could have taken upwards of two years.
New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s five-year audit released on September 25th suggested that Nassau and Suffolk counties open slot parlors, and that the OTBs join forces so that they are able to negotiate better rates for rights to broadcast live racing from tracks.