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Lawmakers Finalizing Deal To Move Mini-Casino From Belmont To Aqueduct

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- State lawmakers in Albany are finalizing a deal that moves a proposed mini casino from Belmont Racetrack to Aqueduct.

It's a victory for Nassau County residents opposed to video slot games at Belmont, but as CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported, others are upset about the loss of promised jobs.

Dominick Lilavois shook hands with the local lawmaker who led the fight against placing a thousand video slot games right across busy Hempstead Turnpike in the Belmont Park grandstands.

"It will create a lot of traffic on the community, create a lot of trouble for the police, and we don't have the kind of police force needed to take care of all the people going back and forth to the casino," Lilavois said.

In Westbury, Plainview, and Uniondale angry residents chased the proposed casino away. When Nassau OTB said it would place the gambling operation at Belmont, County Legislator Carrier Solages led the local protest. He supports the state backed switch to Aqueduct.

"This is a victory altogether, because the issue of placing a casino anywhere in Nassau County has now been settled. So, I'm very happy. This is a victory for the community," Solages (D-Elmont) said.

Under the new deal Aqueduct would add a thousand video slots to its existing casino at Aqueduct. From the extra gambling revenue Aqueduct would send Nassau County $43-million over the next three years.

The county would then receive at least $25-million every year afterward.

Locals counting on a casino at Belmont to bring in jobs bitterly pointed out that the depressed community of Elmont is once again left with nothing.

"Very bad, very bad. Jobs are not here, so what happens to the community," Gennel Bhee said.

Bhee blames County Executive Mangano for stepping away from the casino.

"This is a good resolution providing OTB, the county, and state with re-occurring revenue that keeps taxes down," a Mangano spokesman said.

Governor Cuomo is expected to sign off on the deal.

Nassau Democrats did say that they will pull their support if the Aqueduct revenue is first routed through OTB instead of the county.

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