Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bidders Anxious For Racino Action by Dave Lucas- WAMC Public Radio...

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Bidders for the rights to build and operate a racino at Aqueduct Racetrack have increased money they're prepared to offer state... Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The Paterson Administration has been accepting bids on an Aqueduct Racino that would house 4500 video lottery terminals, making the Queens Raceway the home of the largest slot parlor in the world. The state hopes it can make $1 million a day in revenue once the Aqueduct racino opens.

The on again off again racino project has been stymied by the economy: bidders have already amended financial aspects of their proposals and final amendments are due Wednesday. Buffalo-based Delaware North had secured the rights to build and develop the racino but backed away in March, unable to come up with enough cash for the upfront fee. Competitors have announced aggressive plans to get the project underway: SL Green's plan calls for a huge food court, a Hard Rock memorabilia bar, retail outlets and other amenities. Aqueduct Entertainment Group has promised the state $151 Million upfront - AEG spokesman Larry Roman says his company is "shovel ready" - AEG is dangling another $100 million before the state IF it will allow 10-thousand VLTS on the premises.

A spokesman for Governor David Paterson's office returned a request for comment by email, stating each bidder was met with individually during the last week of July, and all bids are under review. Once those final reviews are complete, that info will be sent to the governor and leaders for a final decision.

Crain's New York identified the top three bidders: according to the website SL Green bid $250 million, the Aqueduct Entertainment Group bid $151 million and casino mogul Steven Wynn bid $75 million.