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Hundreds attend heated public meeting regarded proposed Nassau County casino

Hundreds attend heated public meeting regarded proposed Long Island casino
Hundreds attend heated public meeting regarded proposed Long Island casino 02:01

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- More than 300 Nassau County residents packed the ballroom at the Uniondale Marriott on Thursday to have their voices heard regarding a proposed $4 billion resort casino.

Some are demanding independent traffic, air, water and noise studies.

Emotions spilled over as two sides in the hotly contested casino wars squared off.

"Casinos are places that lift people up and shake them until all the money falls out," said George Krug, with "Say No to Casino."

"We will be victorious, this casino will be built and it will be built with union," said Johnny Martincic, with local Steamfitters 638.

Hempstead town officials are hosting required public environmental meetings. Hundreds signed in to speak, including Las Vegas Sands. It's the result of a lawsuit filed against Nassau County by Hofstra University, one of the most vocal opponents of the Vegas-style gambling resort plan.

A judge ruled that Nassau County should have studied the environmental impacts before granting Sands a 99-year lease for the property.

"We are here to watchdog the project," said Adrienne Esposito with Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

"We always worry about problem gambling and the use of alcohol and drugs in any casino," said Jeffrey Reynolds, with the Family and Children's Association.

The association says Sands is addressing those concerns and others.

"Transportation, accessibility. We've had lengthy discussions about employment," said advocate for inclusion Nadia Holubnyczyj-Ortiz.

The mayor of Garden City received cheers when she told the town why they are opposed -- "crime, poverty, addiction."

Others spoke about gridlock and air and water quality.

Meanwhile, Nassau's fight with Hofstra escalated when County Executive Bruce Blakeman suggested the university is helping a competing casino developer land the downstate license in Queens.

Hofstra vehemently denies this and is challenging its subpoena to appear before the Nassau legislature, calling it an attempt to distract and impede a fair and open process.

Competition is fierce. Hard Rock Citi Field, Yonkers Aqueduct and Sands' Nassau Hub are all vying for a coveted downstate license.

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