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Friday, October 10, 2008

Report: It's Delaware North.... [UPDATED]

- ...This according to a report on the Albany Times Union's Capitol Confidential blog.

According to two informed sources, the governor will end the nearly two-year competition for the rights to build and operate the facility by choosing the Buffalo-based company.
Delaware North, which already operates racinos in Saratoga Springs and in the Finger Lakes, offered $371 million as a downpayment to the state, funds that will be helpful in closing a more than $1 billion budget shortfall this year.
Other bidders, SL Green, which was partnering with the Seminole tribe and the Hard Rock Casinos, and Capital Play LLC, which was parterning with the Mohegan Sun, are set to become unhappy finalists. The two losing teams had promised much more in revenues to the state over the long run.
No surprise here that Paterson has opted for the quick fix over the longer-term benefits. Delaware North's plan commits not a single penny to any investment in the infrastructure other than the $250 million scheduled to be raised by the state. It's a decision which, given its lack of vision and ingenuity, could have been made months ago.

[UPDATE: Tom Precious reports in the Buffalo News that Senate Republicans are opposed to this decision.
"We have said that there must be an economic development component for Aqueduct, which is what the community wants and what our intention was all along. And since there is no component, we cannot support the Delaware North bid as it was proposed," said John McArdle, a spokesman for Skelos.

McArdle noted that two of the bidders proposed more sweeping economic development efforts for the site, including hotel and retail space. The Delaware North bid featured mainly just the casino, though with an option possibly in the future to build out the site.
Good for the Republicans there...if, that is, it stems from genuine concern about the community as they say. Precious also brings up a political aspect to this, noting that the GOP is upset about Paterson's increasing involvement in the Democrats' bid to take the Senate; specifically in this case regarding his endorsement this week of Democratic candidate Joseph Addabbo, attempting to unseat incumbent Serph Maltese in a crucial race in the Queens Senate District which includes Aqueduct. The race was rated virtually even in a Siena College poll.] (HT to reader CW)

- To answer a reader's question, the first meeting of the New NYRA Board of Directors did take place as scheduled on Wednesday.


Anonymous said...

Hold your horses, Governor:

The selection of Delaware North, set for later today, was put on hold when the Republican-led Senate raised questions about the proposal. By law, Paterson, Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos have to unanimously approve the casino operator.

"We have said that there must be an economic development component for Aqueduct, which is what the community wants and what our intention was all along. And since there is no component, we cannot support the Delaware North bid as it was proposed," said John McArdle, a spokesman for Skelos.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is any correlation between the NYRA board meeting Wednesday and the sudden urge by the administration to select a VLT operator?

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering about the veracity of these so-called "sources." Nowhere can I find a comment or a press release from the governor's office, and he was on a three city tour today upstate. You'd think with an announcement this significant, he might have had something to say to all the microphones and cameras in his face in Ithaca, Rochester and Binghamton.

Anonymous said...

Let the games begin. It's even more entertaining than trying to hit the pick 3 or watching your net worth in the market shrink away! Has the governor himself actually said anything yet?

Anonymous said...

Skelos weighs in:

FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Friday, October 10, 2008


More than seven years ago, the Legislature passed legislation to
authorize placing VLTs at Aqueduct and other race tracks across the state
to generate funds for education and to encourage significant economic
development in communities surrounding the tracks.

Since that time, every other authorized VLT location is operating,
but plans for Aqueduct have floundered. This needless delay has cost the
state hundreds of millions in lost revenues. Now it appears that Governor
Paterson is supporting a bid that only includes plans for a racino and does
not include any proposal to generate needed economic development.

Of the three Aqueduct proposals, Delaware North offered the most
up-front money as a one-shot to provide revenue to help address the state
budget deficit. Unlike the other bids, Delaware North’s plan does not
include an economic development proposal that would be a greater benefit in
the long run. Only recently did they add Florida developer Donahue
Peebles, who has yet to provide a plan that could be reviewed and vetted by
the state and community organizations.

Senator Serf Maltese, who represents Aqueduct, has been working
directly with Community Board 10, local civic groups, and other elected
officials to ensure that the vendor selected has a plan to develop Aqueduct
into a true destination venue, which would create more jobs and generate
more revenue for education in the long run.

It appears that in an effort to close the budget deficit, Governor
Paterson has made a choice that may not be in the best long term interests
of the state or for the communities that surround Aqueduct. It is our
belief that unless we make Aqueduct a true destination venue, this project
will not generate the largest possible benefit.

Before agreeing to any final proposal, we must be assured that the
bid meets the basic criteria we established when we authorized this effort.
That included a world class racino along with an economic development
proposal that would generate additional revenue for education first and
foremost, and for the local communities and the state.


Anonymous said...

"Good for the Republicans there.", boy that musta been tough to type :)

Anonymous said...

easy to blame Republicans -- there is an updated story on the Bloodhorse -- Paterson is supposed to get agreement from the senate and assembly -- the assemblywoman from the area (a dem)Audrey Pheffer, is also opposed.

also, while we are discussing politics, I was leaning toward Obama until all the ACORN stories started popping. This video is the icing on the cake:

No one wants Bush's last day to be here sooner than me, but the sub-prime mortgage crisis belongs to the Dems -- not to Bush. Wall Street shares the blame along with Clinton (Bill), Cuomo (Andrew) and Obama (Barry), but it looks like they were trying to gild the turd forced on them by the CRA and ACORN.
I might just stay home on election day for the forst time in 35 years. I am disgusted.