Three entities submitted bids in the latest attempt to find an operator for the long-delayed and controversial Aqueduct racetrack “racino” project, Bureau Chief Ken Lovett reports here at the State Capitol:
Genting is Asia’s largest casino operator.
Penn National, which offered the state the largest upfront payment the last time around, operates 19 gaming and racing facilities.
S.L. Green has again teamed up with Hard Rock International. But this time they also added Clairvest, which was part of the ill-fated Aqueduct Entertainment Group consortium that was selected and then rejected earlier this year.
Each entity was required to promise the state a minimum upfront payment of $300 million, though Lottery won’t open the sealed bids until after the vetting process. Just to compete, the groups had to make a $1 million non-refundable payment to to the state.
Several interested groups ultimately backed off, including Buffalo-based Delaware North, which was once selected to run the project but then couldn’t come up with the promised upfront money.
“A highly unusual set of financial conditions, including the non-refundability of down payment and unpredictability of state taxation rates, caused us to re-evaluate,” said Delaware North President William Bissett.
The winning bidder will have to pay the New York Racing Association $2 million per month before the racino opens while also assuming payment of a $25 million loan to the group.
The Lottery on Aug. 3 is due to recommend a selection to Gov. Paterson and legislative leaders, who have the final say.
Unlike the last process, which is now under investigation, no lobbying is permitted by the groups. The new process is modeled after standard state procurement rules.