And down the stretch they finally come.
After months of unexplained and often confounding delays, the state's leaders are expected to select a winner to develop a slot parlor at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens within two weeks.
“By now, this decision should have been made, shovels should be in the ground and money should be flowing into the coffers of the state,” says state Sen. Joseph Addabbo, whose district includes Aqueduct.
Two bidders—Penn National Gaming Inc. and SL Green Realty Corp.—emerged as front-runners, a source close to the process says, after casino mogul Steve Wynn withdrew his bid. Mr. Wynn bailed last week, allegedly out of frustration with the ever-changing parameters of a process that is largely playing out behind the closed doors of Gov. David Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate majority leader John Sampson.
The remaining five bidders—which also include Aqueduct Entertainment Group, Delaware North's Aqueduct Gaming and R. Donahue Peebles/MGM Mirage—say they'll agree to the governor's latest request for a $200 million up-front payment to help close the state's widening budget gap.