Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Genting Wants More Than 4,500 VLTs by James M. Odato - Capitol Confidential

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It has yet to open its Aqueduct race track racino, but Genting officials this morning already started talking about currently illegal expansion to allow for Las Vegas-like casino games.
Michael Speller, president of Genting’s proposed racino in Queens — named Resorts World New York — told a Senate racing and wagering hearing that he foresees no obstacles to opening the new facility by midsummer. But he told the Senate panel that it would be swell for Aqueduct, the state and the other racinos statewide to offer table games.
He said the competition in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut can all offer such casino games, and it would be wise for New York to do the same to keep revenues in the Empire State, Speller said. Genting entered into a contract with the state to become a Division of the Lottery franchise offering up to 4,500 video lottery terminals at Aqueduct.
“I agree with you,” said Senate Committee on Racing, Wagering and Gaming Chairman John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope. He said he would like a constitutional amendment to allow for such additional gambling. He also mourned the fact that past attempts to change the Constitution to accommodate for casinos all failed.
“I have visited those places you refer to, and they’re all eating our lunch,” Bonacic said.
Other participants in the hearing on the future of gambling in New York included the New York Racing Association, which suggested that Off-Track Betting corporations should be working with NYRA for operational efficiencies and that the racing and wagering model in New York must be restructured to avoid disaster. NYRA President Charles Hayward said that there should be no concern that the Saratoga meet won’t occur this year. Last year his calls for financial help from the state set off speculation that the summer racing schedule would be in jeopardy. Others spoke about their interest in having the OTBs consolidate. Bonacic said he suspects a bill calling for that will emerge.