- It's been a week now since MGM pulled out of the Aqueduct racino, and I personally didn't notice a line of limos on the Grand Central Parkway carrying Donald Trump or any other execs from casino companies headed over to Ozone Park this past weekend. It took about a week for Excelsior to line up Steve Wynn to replace the Steinbrenner clan, and, with Spitzer threatening to make a decision by the end of this month, NYRA is most definitely on the clock.
Meanwhile, the Capitol Confidential blog in the Albany Times Union reports that the four bidders have collectively spent over $3 million on the wasteful integrity checks that have more to do with Spitzer promoting himself rather than addressing true issues regarding the integrity of the bidding entities themselves.
Capital Play says the bill has already reached $800,000 and Empire says its costs are in that ballpark. Excelsior puts its tab at about $1 million; NYRA is at about $500,000.Some nice little snark at the end there.
Bidders have been dealing with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP or Thacher Associates. The accounting work doesn't appear to have been competitively bid, according to the state comptroller's office.
- Neither bettors nor the horsemen seem happy at the little slots paradise that is Philadelphia Park. With slots now taking up most of the existing building, bettors spending Derby Day in Bensalem were all packed onto the 5th floor; smoke and frustration filled the air.
“It's a disgrace. They're moving the horse bettors out of here,” said Tony Favuzzi of Bensalem.Nothing like a little tension amongst people waiting on line trying to get their wagers in. Those days are long, long behind most of us, and I'm sure it must have been some very unpleasant deja vu there.
“Here it is, Derby day, and you have this,” Favuzzi said, pointing to the lines of people waiting to place bets. “It's crowded. We can't bet. It's tense up here and people are aggravated.” [Philly Burbs]
Horsemen at Philly Park fear that owner Greenwood Racing is trying to back out of its commitment to erect a $300 million permanent slots facility; the company has filed to request to make the current temporary facility taking up most of the grandstand permanent.
“This is a classic bait-and-switch,” said Michael P. Ballezzi, executive director of the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which represents about 4,000 members. “Greenwood Gaming is attempting to get away with a minimal investment at Philadelphia Park without investing the $300 million in a grand permanent casino it had originally promised during its licensing hearings.But the company denies the accusations, pointing to their filing of a revised, and more ambitious plan for the permanent facility due to high demand. In the April petition, Greenwood asked for permission to add 12,500 square feet of casino and lounge space and 336 slot machines, which would bring its total number of slots to more than 2,400.
“Rather than a premier destination, Philadelphia Park’s casino could well be the worst in the state,” he said. “This is unacceptable.”[Times Leader]