Long Island could have itself not one but two places where customers can use video lottery terminals (VLTs). Plans have been unveiled to add Belmont Park Raceway to the short list of racinos on the peninsular. It will join the Aqueduct Raceway that will start to offer its own VLTs this summer. The plan also includes the provision for a new arena that will host the New York Islanders. That will be music to the ears of anyone who visits the decrepit arena that is the oldest in the NHL by some way.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano unveiled the plans to an excited audience and revealed his desire that the Shinnecock Indian tribe should run the gambling facility at the Belmont Park track. Originally, it had been thought that a casino may be built on the 77-acre Nassau Coliseum site to form part of a new complex. An entertainment venue is still be proposed by Mangano at that site and will let voters decide its fate in a referendum, commenting, “This referendum will allow residents to decide whether we should build a sports-entertainment destination at the site of Nassau Coliseum.”
After the Aqueduct took a full ten years to get their VLTs, it could be a little early to start blowing Belmont Park’s trumpet. Given that the Aqueduct also has first mover advantage and is run by reputable land-based company Genting, this plan may not be the gold mine that it first appears.
With a budget deficit of $176m, it’s a little surprising that they’re proposing to milk the VLTs udders for all they’re worth. It could all be to the detriment of the New York Lottery as the free bus journeys on offer to get residents to these racinos will be hard to resist for many.