SMITHTOWN - Officials say a proposed casino in Islandia could mean a jackpot for homeowners, cutting property taxes in half.
As News 12 previously reported, the Islandia Village Board unanimously approved a project that calls for the installation of up to 1,000 video slot machines at the Islandia Marriott hotel.
Village officials insist the mini-casino will benefit Islandia residents. The village's website says Islandia will receive $47 million from the company that will purchase the building, Delaware North, over the course of 20 years.
They also say that Delaware North will pay the village more than $1.5 million for the construction of a baseball field on Old Nichols Road.
A statement posted on the village website from Mayor Allan Dorman says, "Within the first two years after payments begin, village taxes will be reduced by up to 50%."
Ronkonkoma Civic Association President Bruce Edwards says the mini-casino will have a negative impact on the surrounding communities, but Rene Brenner, of Smithtown, says it could be a boon to the local economy.
"I think it's a good idea," she says. "It will keep the seniors busy, keep people out of trouble, something to do, and more money for the area."
Dozens of people rallied Thursday night outside the Suffolk County legislative building in Smithtown, vowing to block the casino's construction despite the approval.
Two elected officials attended the rally: Legislator Leslie Kennedy and Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, who says nothing good will come from a casino in Suffolk, or anywhere on Long Island.
Attorneys are preparing to file a lawsuit against the village on behalf of the casino's opponents.
News 12 reached out to Islandia Mayor Allan Dorman for comment, but has not yet heard back.