Saturday was a busy day for Elmont where two opposing rallies took place. The first one was made of people showing their support for the proposed gaming expansion of a racetrack, whereas the second one was staged by locals opposing it. The idea that divided the citizens is, in fact, a proposal to add video lottery terminals at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.

Over 2,000 protesters went on a mile-long march starting at Floral Park and ending at Elmont. Their message was “We say no casino,” clearly expressing their opinion on setting up 1,000 VLT at the racetrack. This is a second rally against the plan to take place in January. The main issue protesters have with the proposal is fear of increasing crime and traffic, but lowering property values.

Floral Park Village Mayor Thomas Tweedy called the idea “an unimaginative way of raising money,” whereas a resident stated that she didn’t want her house to lose value. Another protester against adding gambling services claimed they weren’t “appropriate for the community,” while an Elmont resident described it as a bad idea too.

Supporters, on the other hand, gathered at Belmont Park to express their approval of a possible gambling expansion. Some of the positive effects from such an expansion, as pointed out by locals, were increased revenues and enhancement of the community. Other people simply concluded that the upgraded facility would give residents “some place to go.”

Belmont Park racetrack was chosen by the Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation as a host of a 100,000-square-foot gaming floor featuring 1,000 video lottery terminals. According to the projected revenues by the corporation, Belmont Park should generate approximately $100 million annually and earn the area around $20 million in tax income.

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