The Senate Democratic leadership has quickly signed off on Genting, and that's no surprise to me, as you know if you've been following the action here.
“Nothing is more important than creating jobs. The acceptance of Genting puts New York on the fast track to rebuild our local and state economy through sound economic development and immediate and long-term job creation,” said Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson.Of course, Sampson wasn't so concerned about jobs when he was holding out for AEG, which I think will be quite clear once the Inspector General's probe into the fiasco is completed. I am SO looking forward to that, and I expect that the Governor's testimony will be particularly candid and revealing.
So, the ball is in the court of the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver....and what else is new? Silver drove the agenda with AEG, insisting that it raise its bid and subject itself to scrutiny and licensing requirements that ultimately led to its demise. Good thing too, or so it seems, given the fact that Genting is in another galaxy from AEG in terms of experience and finances. In fact, Governor Paterson's decision to once again rebid the project - subject to near-universal derision at the time - has netted the state an extra $80 million and a fresh proposal that had Lottery Director Gordon Medenica, appearing during Monday's presentation to the Senate, remark "Wow, finally a top notch, first class" operator. I'd think that maybe Penn National and Delaware North might take some offense from that remark.
Anyway, it seems unlikely that Silver would hold up the works at this point given the fact that the conditions he set for AEG have been met and surpassed. You never know with the Speaker, and he's certainly in a position to extract some kind of price. He might not sign off this week if just to spite the three Senators who called on him to do so during Monday's presentation. But it seems that the selection saga is finally coming to an end.
Genting spokesperson Jay Walker provided a little more detail on what the company has in mind. For one thing, that fountain in the front? Three stories high, woo hoo! All of the slots will be located on two floors, with the third reserved for "future use." Hmmm, can you guess what they have in mind? No, it's not an expansion of the racing section. Walker spoke about how table games would "enhance the location greatly;" particularly for the 47 million people a year who make their way through JFK, most on their way to somewhere else. What better way to spend a layover than at the blackjack tables a few miles away?