Thousands protest Belmont Park VLT proposal

Opponents of the plan to add video lottery terminals to Belmont Park rallied in Floral Park Tuesday evening. "We say ‘no casino,’" chanted protesters among

Opponents of the plan to add video lottery terminals to Belmont Park rallied in Floral Park Tuesday evening.

Opponents of the plan to add video lottery terminals to Belmont Park rallied in Floral Park Tuesday evening. (1/13/16)

FLORAL PARK - Opponents of the plan to add video lottery terminals to Belmont Park rallied in Floral Park Tuesday evening.

"We say ‘no casino,’" chanted protesters among the 2,000 Floral Park and Elmont residents who turned out to oppose the plan.

They say the VLTs will increase crime and traffic while offering little actual benefit to the economy.

"Gambling is an addiction -- it's a disease," says Patricia Mangan. "And we're going to have this right next to our elementary school and our public high school?"

Nassau OTB plans to build a 100,000-square-foot gambling facility near the western grandstand. County Executive Ed Mangano has been hopeful that the facility will raise $20 million needed to balance the 2016 county budget.

While the broader plan awaits approval from lawmakers in Albany, Nassau OTB plans to place a temporary gambling hall on Hempstead Turnpike.

Floral Park officials say they plan to file a lawsuit to block the project.

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