Casino stakes high for Hempstead Town

Casino stakes high for Hempstead Town
Wild Casino

Daily Point

A winning bet for Hempstead?

But a small change tucked into the voluminous state budget could mean a massive multimillion-dollar windfall for the Town of Hempstead — if officials play their cards right.

The change comes in how casino-related revenue will be divided up for municipalities outside of New York City.

Previously, the formula worked so that the host county would receive 5% of the gaming-related revenue, the host municipality would get 5%, and the neighboring county, or counties, would receive 10%.

For the casino proposed by Las Vegas Sands for the Nassau Hub, that would have translated to Nassau County getting 5%, the Town of Hempstead 5%, and Suffolk County 10%.

The new setup boosts the funding for the host municipality. Under the new breakdown, 5% of gaming-related revenue would go to the host county, 10% would go to the host municipality, and 5% would go to the neighboring county or counties.

A winning Sands bid would give Nassau and Suffolk each 5% of the pot, and Hempstead Town 10%.

The new arrangement, sources told The Point, was orchestrated in part by State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who represents Westchester County. That includes the City of Yonkers, Stewart-Cousins’ hometown, which observers assume will receive one of the three available downstate licenses since Yonkers Raceway is already home to Empire City Casino’s slot machines and electronic games. Under the new deal, Yonkers would get 10% of the revenue, Westchester would get 5%, and Putnam and Rockland counties would each get 2.5% of the revenue.

But the change is also a victory for State Sen. Kevin Thomas, whose district includes much of the Town of Hempstead.

“If this casino does come to the Town of Hempstead, and to Long Island, there’s going to be a lot of money coming into the town that will go to benefit the residents of that area,” Thomas told The Point. “This is a big, big win even before the decision has been made on whether a casino should come to Long Island. This is in fact laying the foundation for the fact that, hey, this will be huge for the Town of Hempstead.”

If a casino comes to Hempstead Town, sources say the new revenue breakdown could amount to about $60 million a year for the town by conservative estimates — far above the $20 million annual payment to Hempstead that’s guaranteed by the proposed lease. Depending on how well the casino fares, those town revenues could skyrocket to $100 million a year, by some estimates.

Hempstead’s total budget amounts to about $504 million.

Under the low-end estimates, Nassau would seem to be looking at about $30 million in annual payments. But the lease puts Nassau’s guarantee at $50 million — leaving the county to potentially get more than what the state budget might allocate.

Hempstead officials ultimately will be responsible for approving any zoning changes or variances Sands may need to build its proposed casino resort at the Hub.

Now there’s an even bigger payday riding on that approval.

— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Pencil Point

Not the write stuff

Final Point

Dear Santa …

Cait Corrigan, the one-time would-be candidate for the 1st Congressional District, often guides the writing of letters for those opposed to vaccination — in one-on-one help sessions or in workshops for paying customers.

Now, she’s turning her attention to another letter-writing campaign: supporting those she calls “J6 Defenders,” by writing letters to those involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

“One of the greatest things we can do in helping and supporting the J6 Defenders, is to send them a letter to let them know that they are NOT FORGOTTEN,” a Corrigan flyer reads.

Corrigan is advertising the event, her second in as many months, on the social media platforms she has used to advertise her work assisting individuals with writing religious-exemption letters to evade vaccination requirements. Corrigan’s last religious-exemption workshop was in February.

The new Jan. 6 event, which will take place Saturday in Patchogue at an unnamed location, is part of a larger, national effort called the Patriot Mail Project, which encourages people to write letters to individuals the project calls “J6 Political Hostages.” The project’s website identifies them as people “wrongfully held as Political Prisoners.”

The website includes a list of “J6 Patriots,” filterable by home state, location, and birthday month; guidelines for how individuals can receive mail in prison; and a sign-up for those who participated in the Jan. 6 riot and would like to receive mail.

Corrigan is requiring any participant in her event to make a $10 donation to be given to the mother of Ashli Babbitt, the insurrectionist who was killed on Jan. 6 and has been portrayed by some supporters as a martyr, as well as to “Freedom Corner,” a group that gathers outside Washington, D.C.’s central detention facility to support Jan. 6 defendants who await trial.

Possibly to avoid any unwanted protesters, Corrigan’s flyer does not indicate where the letter writing will take place, instead saying, “Address will be disclosed upon reserving your spot.”

— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall