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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Three's Company

Three bidders for the Big A, as you might already have seen. Familiar names Penn National and the persistent SL Green/Hard Rock (along with ex-AEG partner Clairvest) are joined by the Malaysian-based Genting, who bailed out Monticello/Empire Resorts last year. As Steve Zorn notes, the latter are a highly experienced casino operator in Asia and elsewhere, and they have tons of money. "We have about $1.8 billion of cash and no debt," a company official recently told the NY Post.

The Lottery is supposed to be making their decision objectively, scoring the bidders based on the standard procurement process. Whether or not that includes the consideration for a local component which seemed so paramount in past bidding rounds is not clear. If that is the case, SL Green would seem to have the advantage (though Genting does have their involvement upstate).

As far as the Shinnecocks go, I was surprised that their recent federal recognition would have an effect on this process. It was certainly not a surprise, and obstacles to their actually completing an off-site facility remain. However, I was told by someone familiar with the process that it's all moving faster than some of the bidders expected. Whereas the thinking had been that a casino would be five-seven years off, some now believe it could be as little as 18 months....and in multiple locations too.

Belmont, however, is beyond the 75 mile limit within which the tribe would be permitted to build a casino without further approvals.....and it's my understanding that those approvals would include federal legislation. I'm going to try and get some clarification on that...but this is from the NY Times last month:

Far more difficult for the tribe will be the federal legislation required to allow them to build an off-reservation casino, an issue that has been controversial nationally.
As an alternative to federal legislation, some tribes can put off-reservation land in trust, but a recent court decision has limited that option to tribes with more longstanding recognition.

“They’re going to need legislation,” said Bennett Liebman, executive director of the government law center at Albany Law School and a former member of the state’s racing and wagering board.

“This is a long, hard process,” he added. “They have significant leverage in dealing with the state; they don’t have leverage in dealing with the federal government.”
Of course, the tribe could in theory construct a casino within those 75 miles, perhaps at a location such as the Nassau Coliseum site in Uniondale, a straight shot of 68.5 miles along Route 27 according to Google Maps.

1 Comment:

figless said...

I believe they need to actually own the land, in trust, and no matter how corrupt Albany is I can not fathom them selling that valuable Belmont parcel to the Tribe or Elmont and the neighboring communities approving such a deal.

SLG/Hard Rock is the logical winner and has been since day one except when political corruption jumped up and bit them.