Floral Park neighbors take casino fight to Legislature

More than 1,000 people have signed an anti-casino petition online.

More than 1,000 people have signed an anti-casino petition online. (1/4/16)

MINEOLA - Opponents of the proposed video gambling facility at Belmont Park took their fight to the Nassau County Legislature on Monday.

During lawmakers' first meeting of the new year, residents pleaded with them to prohibit the Nassau OTB from building a video gambling parlor at the racetrack. As News 12 has reported, a petition against the planned facility has garnered hundreds of signatures.

Residents say the mini-casino would bring in crime and traffic while bringing down home values.

"We're looking to you to help us. Save our neighborhood," resident Terry Paterno said to lawmakers. "Would any of you like to have this casino in your backyard?"

Legislator Richard Niccolello (R-New Hyde Park) said projects that residents are citing in their arguments are different. "They were actual full-blown casinos, so I mean, it's kind of apples and oranges."

The Nassau OTB projects the video lottery terminals will generate $20 million per year for the county. Opponents say that number is unrealistic.

News 12 reached out to Nassau OTB, but a spokesperson declined to comment.

Before the plan can move forward, theĀ  OTB must conduct an environmental review of the plan under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), including traffic, noise, land use and air quality. The agency must notify the New York Racing Association, which runs Belmont, and get approval from the New York state Gaming Commission and the state Office of General Services.

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