Governor Paterson is slated to meet in private with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader John Sampson in Manhattan at 2:30 today to discuss the Aqueduct bidding....and Tom Precious reports on Bloodhorse.com that we're down to three - AEG, SL Green, and Delaware North. Or maybe I should say, up to three, since Crain's New York earlier in the week reported that it was down to two - Penn National and SL Green.
The governor is said to be favoring the bid by SL Green and Hard Rock, while Senate Democratic leaders have been pushing Aqueduct Entertainment Group, which is a consortium of Las Vegas casino company Navegante Group, construction companies, and a group tied to the Rev. Floyd Flake, a former Queens congressman who is close to Senate President Malcolm Smith. Silver, the Assembly leader, has not, as is often his negotiating style, made crystal clear his choice, but in the past he favored Delaware North. [Bloodhorse.com]Each of these three latest presumed front-runners comes with its own baggage of course - AEG would be seen as a political favor for Senator Malcolm Smith, and SL Green includes the Seminole tribe which is under fire for defiantly operating table games in Florida despite their being illegal under state law. If Delaware North gets the nod, many will wonder if this trip was really necessary, and why the state simply could not have re-negotiated their prior deal once they couldn't come up with the inflated down payment.
Precious writes that "a decision could come later in the day." Maybe. Or perhaps Steve Wynn will call and say he was just kidding and he wants back in. It's just hard to take any of this seriously at this stage, so we'll just stay tuned.
[UPDATE: I was told at around 4:30 that the meeting broke off with no decision reached.]
- There are rumblings in the Florida legislature now to take on the intransigent Seminoles by simply opening the entire state to full-fledged casinos. The tribe has pissed off some formerly anti-gambling Republican lawmakers to the point where they could now be ready to authorize a full-fledged assault. (Nice to see the GOP sticking to their ideological guns. Considering the passionate resistance they have put up to gambling in Florida in the past, this seems comparable to the Party of No agreeing to a single payer system with Al Franken as Health Care Czar.)
“Florida is a gaming state, No. 6 in the nation,” said State Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, chairman of the Select Committee on Seminole Indian Compact Review. “Right now we have all of the worst of gaming and none of the best.”
“As anti-gaming as I was, it’s here, and it’s not going away,” said Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale. “You go to Plan B, which is free market.”
Rep. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, said “We can compete head on with the tribe. We need to say absolutely no to this compact — period.” [News-Press]