Long Island Casino Avoids Citizen-Led Effort to Be Shut Down

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Casino-goers in and around Long Island will still be able to visit Jake’s 58 in Islandia after a federal judge shot down an attempt by local residents to shutter the casino. The fate of the gambling venue has been uncertain for several years after its owner, Suffolk OTB, found itself in financial trouble, leading to a declaration of bankruptcy. Opponents of the casino tried to take advantage of the company’s difficulties to force the property to be closed, but have failed once again.  

Jake’s 58 Staves Off Closure

Jake’s 58, which started as a Delaware North property before being sold to Suffolk, has been a regular fixture in southern New York since it first opened in 2017. However, from the start, it was met with mixed reactions by the community it was meant to serve. Delaware North signed an agreement in 2016 with the Village of Islandia in Suffolk County to pay $47 million over 20 years for the rights to build a casino in Islandia. That, to some locals, was illegal and amounted to collusion between the village and the casino operator. They took their complaint to court, but lost.

That initial defeat came in 2018, when a judge determined that the approval of the casino didn’t violate any zoning laws and didn’t support the theory that there had been collusion. Opponents didn’t give up and appealed the decision, which took until now to reach a conclusion. All the while, Suffolk was restructuring its business to pay off its debts and emerge from bankruptcy, confident that Jake’s 58 would survive.

With the appeal finally being heard by Central Islip District Court Judge Joan M. Azrack last week, the matter, for now, has come to a close. Azrack upheld the previous court’s decision that the opponents hadn’t shown enough evidence to support their argument and that there was no proof that collusion had taken place. Islandia mayor Allan M. Dorman wasn’t surprised by the outcome and said after the ruling was given, “From the outset of this litigation, the village was confident that it would prevail in this matter. We are pleased with the court’s decision.”

Jake’s 58 Has Important Role in the Economy

Given that they’re New Yorkers, it isn’t likely that the opponents will give up easily and might appeal. In the meantime, though, Jake’s 58 will continue operating and provide an important revenue stream to the state and local economies. According to data from the New York Gaming Commission, the property has been a strong source of revenue since it opened, with $360.5 million in bets being placed last month. Of that, bettors won $338 million.

Much of that win goes back into the local economy through commercial purchases, but Jake’s 58 also provides significant revenue to the Village of Islandia, as well. The action from last month also allowed the state’s public education fund to receive $9.8 million directly. In addition, Suffolk also gives a cut of its revenue to Suffolk County.

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