The aging Nassau Coliseum (r.) is being considered as a possible casino development site when the Shinnecock tribe of Long Island wins federal recognition, which is expected this spring.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, who is behind the plan, cautioned that talks are in the very early stages.
“Serious consideration must be given to this economic development opportunity that would create jobs, expand the tax base, build a new Nassau Coliseum and retain the Islanders,” Mangano said last month.
Officials and residents in the area have long debated how best to redevelop the arena and the surrounding 77 acres. According to the Long Island Press, New York Islanders owner Charles Wang wants to build the Lighthouse Project, a $3.7 billion development that’s been years in the planning. Wang has threatened to move the team if the plan is not approved.
Mangano said a casino and hotel would fit in with Wang’s proposed complex of offices, stores and entertainment venues.
Sources familiar with the discussions told the New York Post that the Coliseum site is among five or six in Suffolk and Nassau counties being considered by the Southampton-based tribe. The Shinnecocks have also considered a possible casino location upstate, and at one point were said to be weighing the feasibility of an Aqueduct bid.
“I think Suffolk and Nassau are realizing that if we get bumped out of Long Island, they are going to lose a lot of money,” said Lance Gumbs, a tribal trustee.
With the proper approvals, construction of a casino could begin in 2011, Mangano said.