Thursday, August 19, 2010

Leaders Sign Aqueduct MOU by Casey Seiler- Capitol Confidential

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In what’s sure to be reviewed as one of the two most memorable three-way Aqueduct deals of the past seven months, Gov. Paterson, Senate Conference Leader John Sampson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have handed Genting New York the right to develop and operate a video lottery terminal facility at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens.

Lottery Director Gordon Medenica said Friday that the documents were all together, but Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook said while the agreement was in place the actual signing took place this week.

TU reporter Jim Odato reported in Sunday’s paper that a longtime critic of Genting has raised questions about the multinational firm’s other dealings in New York.

The Attorney General and Comptroller still have to approve the plan before the process can move forward. From the governor’s release:
“After an extensive review of the applicants and the final Division of Lottery recommendation, I am pleased to announce my support for Genting New York to build and operate the video slots parlor at Aqueduct,” Governor Paterson said. “Genting emerged as the winner of a highly competitive process that saw potential bidders narrowed from an original pool of seven down to one. I commend Senate Conference Leader Sampson and Assembly Speaker Silver for joining me in support of Genting New York and revitalizing the Aqueduct Racetrack.”
Once the contract is signed, Genting will have to pony up (sorry) $380 million as an upfront licensing fee.
In addition to the upfront fee, the Aqueduct facility will generate an estimated $300 million a year for Lottery Aid-to-Education statewide. Locally, Genting’s development will generate 1,300 jobs during the construction phase and 800 jobs in the operation of the facility. The firm has also committed to donate one percent of net profits to the Queens community.

Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson said: “Nothing is more important than creating jobs. The acceptance of Genting puts New York on the fast track to rebuild our local and state economy through sound economic development and immediate and long-term job creation.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: “Genting, a world renowned and experienced gaming company, presented a thoughtful and comprehensive proposal for the VLT facility at Aqueduct. We look forward to the development of a world-class gaming facility that will maximize revenue for the state of New York, create thousands of jobs and greatly enhance economic development in the surrounding community for many years to come. I commend the exceptional work of Racing and Wagering Chair Gary Pretlow and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer in moving this project forward.”
The selection process initially included interest from seven potential bidders. Six of the seven parties submitted a $1 million required entry fee to be eligible to participate, which culminated in three companies submitting proposals to the Lottery on June 29, 2010. On July 6, 2010, the Lottery disqualified two of the three proposals for numerous non-conforming provisions contained within their proposals. The Lottery then proceeded to review the remaining proposal submitted by Genting. On August 3, 2010, the Lottery issued its recommendation to the Governor stating that the Evaluation Committee unanimously supported Genting’s proposal.

Lottery Director Gordon Medenica said: “We must thank Governor Paterson, Senate Conference Leader John Sampson and Assembly Speaker Silver for their swift approval of this recommendation. We also thank them for their guidance in shaping this evaluation process, which finally succeeded after the many delays of the past. We’re proud to be a part of this process carried out in such a businesslike and transparent manner, to award the contract to a company that promises to deliver much-needed economic development to the community along with a premier entertainment destination. Genting’s plan will support the Lottery’s mission to contribute to education for decades to come.”