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Suffolk OTB President Sets Record Straight on Casino Status

OTB President Phil Nolan

OTB President Phil Nolan

• Story by Barbara LaMonica

In an exclusive interview last week, Suffolk Off-Track Betting President Phil Nolan set the record straight on how OTB will choose a location for its Video Lottery Terminal Casino. Nolan appeared confident the day after the hearing in United States Bankruptcy Court in Brooklyn saying developer Delaware North was “very seriously” searching for the best place in Suffolk for the casino to open for business and launch operations. At press time, Nolan said Delaware North was considering two locales outside of Medford. Due to a confidentiality clause, Nolan said he could not disclose which two locations outside of Medford were being considered for the casino.
However, contrary to the hearing, Nolan told the South Shore Press that Medford was still very much a consideration. “We haven’t left Medford, and the only way we will move away from Medford is if another location it’s better, better and better,” Nolan said. “Better, because it needs to be a better site, better because we’ll be looking at how fast we can open to the public, and better because we’ll be looking at Delaware North’s numbers that surround one of these projects so that OTB’s interests are best served,” Nolan explained. “We will be looking at more than one location based on a large number of variables, including the potential market.”
Romaine did not return attempted requests for comment.
“The judge required OTB and the Town of Brookhaven to do its ministerial duties. We still own the Medford property, and we still have our proposal there – so we can’t say it’s not going to be in Medford,” Nolan said. Asked about potential locations that had been reported in the news, Nolan stated: “People can talk all they want. We own and put a lot of work into Medford.” Asked about the timetable to bring up the curtain on a new casino, Nolan responded: “Wherever we open, it’s going to be a quality venue and first rate facility where we’re going to make every attempt to open as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Medford Taxpayer and Civic Association President Brett Houdek said he was satisfied with the outcome of the court hearing that Medford is no longer a viable location for the casino. “The bankruptcy court does not believe OTB should move forward on the casino in Medford and called the process “obstructive,” Houdek said in a telephone interview. “I find it disingenuous on the part of OTB because now, when they have to follow town code, its enforcement – not obstruction.”
Asked about whether Supervisor Romaine welcomed the casino to Brookhaven, Houdek stated: “I cannot speak for conversations between Mr. Romaine and OTB, but I do know that in 2014 there was ongoing dialogue between Brookhaven Town staff and OTB to change the town code to allow a casino on the property.” That plan, Houdek said, included plans beyond a Video Lottery Terminal. “OTB’s attorney, (Christopher Graham), stated in Bankruptcy court that the plan was not just for a VLT, but also to install hotels and restaurants in anticipation of a full-blown casino, and this,” Houdek said, “is what we opposed because this would bring gridlock, crime and DWI’s.”
But Nolan said OTB still maintains ownership of the Medford property and will do so only if and until such time that Delaware North finds a better location for the casino.

 

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