12/29/2015 4:39PM

Nassau OTB picks Belmont Park as VLT parlor site


Nassau County Off-Track Betting has selected Belmont Park as a location to place 1,000 video lottery terminals, the company announced Tuesday, but the project still faces several hurdles before it becomes a reality.

In a statement Tuesday, Nassau County OTB officials said:

“After exhaustive study and review, including the input of nationally recognized consultants to the gaming industry, Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting (NROTB) strongly believes that Belmont Park is the best possible site for the location of a Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) facility.

“We are working with the County Executive to ensure that Nassau County and the local communities receive increased benefits from this enhancement to a facility that has hosted horse race wagering for more than a century. The addition of VLTs and other first class amenities to existing gaming operations will enhance the entertainment experience for visitors to Belmont Park as well as producing revenue that will support vital public services that the county provides to its neediest residents.”

According to media reports, Nassau OTB proposes building a temporary facility on an eight-acre parcel of land adjacent to the west end of the Belmont grandstand. According to Newsday, OTB would erect a temporary facility that could open in four to six months while lobbying state officials for a permanent 15,000-square-foot facility which would include restaurants, a food court, a simulcast area, and administrative offices.

A spokesman for the New York Racing Association declined comment on the proposal.

Further, it is also unclear how, or if, NYRA and the racing industry would benefit from revenue derived at a VLT facility at Belmont.

In 2013, state lawmakers gave both Nassau and Suffolk OTBs permission to open a 1,000 VLT parlor in their respective counties. However, both companies have met opposition from residents and politicians within previous sites selected.

Nassau County executive Edward Mangano had budgeted in 2016 for approximately $20 million in revenue from Nassau OTB’s video lottery project. He is in support of the project happening at Belmont Park.

"Belmont Park is a logical selection as the existing gaming facility is underutilized,” Mangano said in a statement. “The next step is to further discussions with local legislators and OTB to create a community benefits program that keeps property taxes down, invests in schools, addresses ingress and egress concerns while creating jobs and providing residents with a local entertainment option that keeps their dollars invested locally."

News outlets on Long Island have already reported that several towns near Belmont are opposed to the idea of slots at the track due to concerns over an increase in crime and traffic.

Newsday reported that the village of Floral Park, the closest town to Belmont, has hired a law firm to advise it on a potential lawsuit to block the project.

It remains to be seen how Genting, the company that operates 5,300 VLTs at the Resorts World casino at Aqueduct, would react to a VLT project just eight miles away.