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Hofstra University, Nassau Community College disagree over benefits of casino at coliseum hub

Casino employee training center plan creates backlash in Nassau County
Casino employee training center plan creates backlash in Nassau County 02:11

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- A plan for Nassau Community College to become an employee training center for a proposed casino is creating a backlash.

The project would border two college campuses. Some parents and community members told CBS2 on Wednesday the casino plan is a bad idea.

The newest proposed reinvention for the Nassau hub and coliseum is creating passionate division between the two nearby institutions of higher learning.

Hofstra University is vehemently opposed to creating a casino resort. Nassau Community College believes it answers a mission.

"This is a win-win for Nassau Community College," said Jerry Kornbluth, NCC's vice president of community and governmental relations.

If Las Vegas Sands is granted a downstate casino license here, it would invest in NCC's hospitality management program.

"And this is a great opportunity to change lives, to provide an education, a skill, and to get an internship, and then to go into the job market," Kornbluth said.

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Under the proposal, NCC would have a training center for workers at the casino and entertainment resort at the hub, which is less than a mile away.

Sands already has partnerships with colleges in Pennsylvania and Nevada.

"Hotel rooms, tourism attractions, things the local community can participate in, can have access to, whether that's restaurants," said Ron Reese, Sands senior vice president.

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Students offered their thoughts on the plan.

"I'm not really sure about a casino, but it's good to try new things," one said.

"It would provide jobs and internships for the students," another said.

"It would take away from the history that the coliseum has," another said.

"I don't think we should incorporate gambling in schools," another added.

Hofstra and NCC are a stone's throw from what could be the new gaming entertainment center.

Hofstra remains opposed, saying, "Casino gambling does not mix well with the 40,000 students in the neighborhood of the hub."

"We know there is a terrible brain drain with young people who are leaving Long Island after getting their college degrees," said former New Yorker governor David Paterson, now a senior VP for Sands.

The proposal says 90% of the land would be for an entertainment venue, creating jobs.

"From 5 to 10% of the area is actually used for casino," Paterson said.

Still, controversy swells. The $4 billion investment would be privately funded.

Hofstra added it has concerns that students at either school could become addicted to gambling.

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