Saturday, August 14, 2010

Silver Signs Off On Genting by Ken Lovett - NY Daily News

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And they're off again.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has signed off on the Genting New York bid to run the long-delayed racino at Aqueduct race track in Queens, meaning all three state leaders have now backed the deal.

Silver spokeswoman Sisa Moyo said the speaker informed the governor that he's ready to sign the necessary contracts after having consulted with
Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee Chairman Gary Pretlow and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, whose district includes Aqueduct.

“We did a thorough examination,” Moyo said. “It met provisions that the Assembly had wanted and it was a good offer.”

Gov. Paterson and Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson had previously signed off on the Genting bid.

Once the memorandum of understanding is officially signed, it must be approved by the offices of attorney general and controller.

Genting, which has promised the cash-strapped state $380 million upfront, says it will begin construction quickly with the first phase of 1,600 video slot machines opening within six months. The remaining 2,925 machines will open within a year, under Genting’s schedule.

Of course, the governor and legislative leaders awarded the bid earlier this year to politically-connected Aqueduct Entertainment group only to see the deal fall apart when the Lottery Division found AEG “unlicensable.”

In late 2008, Delaware North was awarded the project, but abrubtly pulled the plug in early 2009 after the credit crunch made it impossible for the company to raise the promised $370 million upfront payment to the state.

No such problems are expected in this case. Genting is a global company worth $5.25 billion, with $1.6 billion in cash on hand.