ISLANDIA - The controversial proposal for a mini-casino at the Islandia Marriott was quickly approved by the village board at a meeting Friday morning.
The plan will allow high-tech video lottery terminals inside the hotel near exit 58 on the Long Island Expressway. The vote on the proposed video-style casino was supposed to happen last month, but was postponed.
The village had posted on its website earlier this week that a special public meeting would be held at 9 a.m., but village officials would not say what was on the agenda. Shortly after the board opened the meeting, it unanimously approved the plan, drawing loud chants from members of the public in attendance.
Someone in the crowd at the meeting yelled out, "Don't let this crowd bully you," and the crowd broke into chants of "no casino." However, some, who support the plan also started chanting, "yes casino."
Village Mayor Allan Dorman and members of the board had no comment for News 12 Long Island.
Opponents of the plan worry the mini-casino will bring traffic congestion. Supporters argue it will bring new jobs and millions of dollars in revenue to the village and Suffolk County.
Attorneys for the protesters say they plan to challenge the board's decision within the next few days in court.
A Buffalo-based company, Delaware North, will buy the Islandia Marriott, continue to operate it as a hotel and then lease space inside to Suffolk OTB, which would install the video-slot games.
Delaware North has promised to complete various infrastructure and beautification projects in Islandia. The firm is also giving the village a so-called "host fee" of several million dollars. The mayor says that money could be used to cut village taxes in half for two years.
The next steps required for the mini-casino include approval by the state gaming board and Suffolk OTB.
Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick says he's against it.
"OTB is an antiquated business model. It no longer works. It is no longer is sustainable," he says.