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Nassau County residents oppose casino 49-42, poll finds - Newsday

By Yancey Roy

Updated November 21, 2023 9:55 am

It’s a dead heat when it comes to Long Islanders’ opinions on the idea of building a casino at the Nassau Coliseum, according to a new Newsday/Siena College poll.

The poll found that 46% of those surveyed on the Island favored the casino, which has been proposed by Las Vegas Sands, and 46% opposed it. Nassau voters showed slight opposition, while Suffolk County voters slightly favored.

That was just one of the findings of the survey of Long Island voters Siena conducted in conjunction with Newsday.

Among other results, voters strongly oppose paying more in electric bills to help fund wind power or paying a higher toll for driving into Manhattan to encourage use of mass transit.

More so than the rest of New York State, they say antisemitism is increasing a great deal, but Islamophobia is rising, too. They believe crime in their own communities stayed level since last year, but worsened statewide. Long Islanders also view the influx of migrants more negatively than statewide residents as a whole.

And while they support the idea of allowing “granny apartments” to be added to single-family homes, they are split on boosting multifamily housing.

Siena surveyed 505 registered Long Island voters from Nov. 12-16. Results have a margin of error of plus-or-minus 6.1 percentage points, meaning each answer could be that much higher or lower.

Here are some of the noteworthy findings.

Casino split

Las Vegas Sands has plans to bid for one of three downstate casino licenses, hoping to put the facility at the coliseum site in Uniondale near Hofstra University. A state gambling board could make a decision next year, though the competition for licenses is stiff.

Asked if they support the casino plan, 49% of Nassau residents opposed it; 42% supported it. Suffolk voters were almost the exact opposite: 49% favored, 43% opposed.

“I think it is already such a congested area and … there’s all the other [negatives] that come with a casino … — plus you have two colleges right there,” said Marie Martin, 85, of Freeport, referring to Hofstra and Nassau Community College.

There wasn’t much variation on casino support when broken into subgroups. Males slightly favored the proposal, 47%-44%, while females were slightly opposed, 49%-46%. White voters slightly favored it, 48%-45%, while other voters opposed, 48%-41%.

The one noticeable breakdown was by age. Those ages 18-34 supported it, 50%-44%; and those 35-54 supported it even more, 53%-37%. But those 55 and older opposed it, 53%-39%.

Fred Bock, 67, of North Babylon, said he’s fine with the proposal though skeptical about how much money it would generate for taxpayers.

“Maybe it will give some people pleasure to go there,” Bock said. “It’s going to be a big joke, but let them create jobs and what not, and maybe some of the money will go back to the taxpayers. But I doubt it.”

Don Levy, director of the Siena Research Institute, said previous statewide polls have shown general support for casinos usually tops opposition. But those surveys didn’t involve asking about a specific site, such as the Nassau Coliseum.

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