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June 2, 2012

Is Belmont back in the Race for the Islanders?

A few months ago there were rumors about the Islanders staying in Nassau, but moving to Belmont as part of a casino development.  Those plans seemed all but dead when Governor Cuomo proposed his plan for the largest convention center in the country to build just down the road at Aqueduct.  The convention center was going to be built by Genting who in return wanted a class three casino with a 25 mile non compete on the site.  It seems like those plans have fallen through, which opens open the door for a Belmont deal again.  

Plans for a casino at Belmont Park , once considered dead and buried, may have received a breath of new life Friday when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that a proposal to build a convention center at nearby Aqueduct Racetrack has been scrapped.

State officials said plans for the convention center and casino would be shelved until voters decide the fate of legalized gambling in New York , likely by no earlier than fall 2013.

If successful, the state would accept bids for a "casino-convention center complex" somewhere in the New York metro area, although not necessarily at Aqueduct, said Cuomo spokesman Joshua Vlasto.

In the interim, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano urged Cuomo to restart conversations with the Shinnecock Indian Nation for a Belmont casino.

"The Shinnecock Nation needs state and federal authorization to build a casino," Mangano said. "Once achieved, it has the potential to create thousands of jobs, increase tourism, slow dollars going to other states and help subsidize the cost of government so that we can hold the line on property taxes.";JSESSIONID=2A97669B870DA50C27217E82D5A09A07?site=newsday&view=politics_item&feed:a=newsday_1min&feed:c=politics&feed:i=1.3757441&part=1

With or without the Shinnecock Belmont could be the saving grace to keep the Islanders in Nassau County.  Later this month RFPS will be gathered that include retail, residential and a sports arena.  This may be the best chance for the county to keep their only professional team and Wang to get the development he wants in the county he wants.

Next month, the Empire State Development Corporation will release a request for proposals to develop 36 acres of state land at Belmont. Those plans could include retail development and a sports venue, such as a professional soccer stadium, said Sen. Jack Martins (R- Mineola ). 

Although the article does mention such as a soccer stadium, I'm sure that could easily become a hcokey arena, since Nassau has a professional hockey team already. 

(Aqueduct currently has a racino  with only slot machines.  Gentings was in talks with the state to open up a full scale casino with table games.)

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