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