Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Genting Ponies Up the Dough for Aqueduct Racino by Stephen Geffon - Leader-Observer

After almost ten years, the deal at Aqueduct Racetrack is finally completed...

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Aqueduct’s designated casino developer delivered the promised $380 million to the State Lottery Division last Friday. Governor David Paterson announced that on September 24 the State of New York received the $380 million upfront payment from Genting New York LLC to develop and operate a casino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park.

"All along, I've said that securing this deal and moving ahead with the project at Aqueduct is critical for the future of New York," Paterson said. "The state, in partnership with Genting, has the opportunity to create jobs for the community and to revitalize this area. After almost a decade of delay, this project is finally becoming a reality and all New Yorkers will benefit."

According to Lottery Director Gordon Medenica, the project will primarily benefit the schoolchildren of New York since all of the Lottery's profits go to education funding.

Mike Speller, president of Genting New York, said, "Genting is excited to have crossed the finish line and will now quickly get to work building a first-class casino that will not only showcase the best in gaming and entertainment, but will result in more than 2,000 jobs and significant recurring revenue for New York State."

Genting was recommended by the New York Lottery to Governor Paterson on August 3. Over the past six weeks, the recommendation has been affirmed by both the State Senate and Assembly and the contract with Genting has been approved by the Office of the Attorney General and Office of the State Comptroller.

Genting’s plans for the $1.3 billion Aqueduct project include 4,525 slot machines, several restaurants, a 34,000-square-foot meeting site for corporate and community events, a 2,100-space parking garage, a new pedestrian walkway from the adjacent subway stop. The firm is also proposing to build three hotels.

“And, of course, we will still have horse racing at Aqueduct,” said Speller.

Speller said that construction of the first phase of the project will begin once regulators complete a review to determine whether it is in compliance with the state Environmental Quality Review Act, a process that typically takes one to two months. Six months after construction begins Genting expects to have 1,600, out of the 4,525 video lottery terminals approved for the facility in operation, with the full casino opening one year after the project is started.

There are estimated to be 1,300 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs.The racino is projected to generate more than $650 million in gross gaming revenues per year. The New York Racing Association (NYRA) is slated to get 7 percent of that revenue. Once operational, the VLT’s are expected to generate more than $1.5 million a day in tax revenue for the state.