NASSAU COUNTY, Long Island (WABC) -- The Las Vegas Sands announced plans Thursday to pursue the development of a multi-billion dollar casino and entertainment project on Long Island.
The company has agreed to purchase the long-term lease of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
It would allow the company to control about 80 acres in Nassau County.
New York State opened up the application process for three downstate facilities with gaming licenses. The casino would only be 10% of the project, according to developers.
The casino development would include hotels, restaurants, a performance venue and convention space. It would also help provide thousands of union jobs both in construction and operations.
"We're gonna talk to the local academic institutions about training people, so that when they come in, it won't just be jobs, it will be the beginning of careers," said former New York Gov. David Paterson who helped pitch the proposal.
The immediate result would be 12,000 construction jobs and 5,000 more in entertainment, but some local groups would prefer a different direction.
"We have Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center here, this is not the place for a casino," said Pearl Jacobs with Nostrand Gardens Civic Association.
The Nassau County Executive says if the revenue is right and the community support is there, that he would be open-minded.
"I think it would be governmental malpractice not to listen," Bruce Blakeman said.
The deal must still meet state approval.
"Our company's track record of driving significant economic benefits to the communities in which we operate and the meaningful relationships and partnerships we have created in each of those communities gives us a unique perspective on what it takes to develop transformative tourism destinations that positively impact the local community. Based on that experience, we strongly believe Long Island can be home to one of the region's great entertainment and hospitality developments" said CEO Robert G. Goldstein. "Our announcement today is only the first part of this journey. Our ability to put forward a compelling and competitive proposal will only succeed if we engage with the Long Island community and, in collaboration, develop a proposal that reflects the input of all those involved."