Aqueduct Entertainment Group has been selected to develop the racino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, announced Gov. David Paterson late Friday afternoon. But there are some caveats.
The decision ends a drawn out bidding process that began six months ago and has been closed to the public. AEG edged out a team led by SL Green, Manhattan's largest commercial landlord, which at one time was seen as Mr. Paterson's favorite. Three other bidders, Delaware North's Aqueduct Gaming, R. Donahue Peebles/MGM Mirage and Penn National Gaming, also came up empty handed. One other bidder, casino mogul Steve Wynn, last year dropped out of the contest to revive the rundown racetrack in Ozone Park.
“After an extensive review of the five remaining bids to operate the video lottery terminals at Aqueduct racetrack, I have chosen and the leaders (of the state Assembly and Senate) have agreed the organization that best fulfills our selection criteria,” Mr. Paterson said, in a press statement. “All of the groups have valid proposals, but AEG presented a comprehensive bid that enjoys community support and also offers strong marketing appeal.”
According to a statement, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the three decision makers on Aqueduct, agreed with Mr. Paterson's choice. However, AEG's selection is subject to conditions, which includes increasing their upfront licensing fee from $200 million to $300 million. He also noted that the winning bidder and its associates must possess a crime-free record to obtain a state gaming license.