Las Vegas Sands’ proposed casino in Nassau County has set off a debate between two local higher education institutions.

Hofstra University and Nassau Community College are on opposing sides over the benefits of a casino at the site of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Newsday reported. Both schools are a short walk from where the gaming facility would rise.

NCC put a partnership in place with Sands that could see the creation and expansion of programs that may result in students receiving internships and jobs at the site, which goes far beyond a gaming facility. The school has a handful of relevant programs, including hospitality, culinary, theater production, marketing and management.

On the other side of the debate stage is Hofstra president Susan Poser, who has railed against the development’s proximity to students and has advocated for a different development for the 72-acre Nassau Hub.

The $4 billion proposal doesn’t necessarily need the support of either school. The state, which will be the ultimate arbiter of the site selection for three downstate casino licenses, didn’t place restrictions on how far a facility needs to be from a school.

Community support, however, is likely to be a factor in the decision-making process by the state. Other casino license bids, like SL Green and Ceasar’s proposal in Times Square, have sought support from nearby institutions to help pave the way for a project. 

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There’s still a long way for  Sands to go to get its casino on Long Island, but the resort company is already seeking tax breaks and rolling through the bureaucratic process. The IDA board unanimously approved transferring the Coliseum’s lease from Mastroianni II and the county reached a 99-year lease agreement with Sands.

The company has stated it would move forward with a development regardless of whether it is awarded a casino license. Its lease requires Sands to build a luxury hotel, entertainment center and a housing component. Conference space, a health club and restaurants are also under consideration.

Holden Walter-Warner 

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