No Las Vegas bidder

May 19, 2008 9:01 PM

by Ray Poirier | New York State will soon have one of the largest racinos in the country but oddly enough it won’t be operated by a Las Vegas-based gaming company.

The 4,500 video lottery machines will be installed at Aqueduct racetrack, locating it nicely between the powerhouse Indian casinos in Connecticut and the slots-heavy properties in Atlantic City.

Three consortiums have provided bids for the multi-million dollar project and these bids are being studied by Gov. David Paterson and the legislative leaders who must make the decision. Under consideration are proposals submitted by Jeremy Jacobs’ Delaware North and partner Saratoga Harness Racing Inc.; Capital Play Inc., whose partners include Mohegan Tribal Nation, Plainfield Asset Management and Extell Development, and SL Green Realty Corp, whose proposal includes the development of a Hard Rock entertainment center.

When the Aqueduct plan first surfaced under ex-Gov. George Pataki, the likely operator was MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGM). But, after waiting several years without action and because of the rapidly-changing political atmosphere in the state, MGM MIRAGE backed out.

A quick decision on the operator is necessary, warns Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, because the 2008-09 state budget contains $250 million for a racino license fee.