Suffolk OTB Finalizing Casino Plans Amid Opposition

Feb 29, 2016

Credit Courtesy of Suffolk Off-Track Betting

The bankrupt Suffolk OTB is trying to get its plan for a Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) casino in Medford finalized before a bankruptcy court hearing in April. However, community opposition is making that difficult.

Since Suffolk OTB and gaming management company Delaware North obtained the site in 2014, the land has sat unused, and the project is stuck in limbo due to opposition from residents and the refusal by the Town of Brookhaven to rezone the site.

"I’m a person who believes there’s a place for everything, and while that place may exist in upstate New York in a depressed area, we don’t want to bring that type of depression here,” said Brett Houdek, president of the Medford Taxpayers and Civic Association. “They’re not viable entities in densely populated areas.”

There are reports that Suffolk OTB is looking to move the project to the Marriott Hotel in Islandia, which is located in an industrial area.

Suffolk County Legislator Kevin McCaffrey, who also is president of the union that represents Nassau OTB workers, said that there is a lot of "fear mongering" around the casino.

"People like to gamble, they enjoy it and we’re losing those dollars right now to Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania,” McCaffrey said. “People want to stay close to home and enjoy that as their recreation.”

OTB will appear before a bankruptcy judge on April 13th to assess its progress on building the casino.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature approved the construction of VLT casinos in Nassau and Suffolk Counties in 2013.VLT casinos include slot machines and table games played on screens.

The site of the proposed casino in Nassau County has been moved three times since 2013.