Chase on again for Aqueduct racetrack slots license

May 12, 2009 5:10 PM
Industry Insider by Ray Poirier | Once again, New York state politicians will have a half-dozen or more bids to screen for the opportunity to build and operate a slots parlor at Aqueduct racetrack in Queens County.

They started the process seven years ago when George Pataki was governor and despite in-fighting awarded the contract to MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGM). Sensing that political battling would delay the project, MGM withdrew.

Eliot Spitzer, who succeeded Pataki, had his own plans for the facility but they fell through when a scandal forced him from office. That left the problem to Gov. David Paterson who resolved the situation (at least that’s what he thought) by granting the franchise to Jeremy Jacobs’ Delaware North Cos. Inc.

But, when it came time to ante up the $370 million upfront payment, Jacobs came up short and was forced to withdraw also.

Now Jacobs has again filed a bid to run the facility. And so have other well-known gaming companies, such as Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) and SL Green Realty Corp of Manhattan.

A story out of Buffalo, New York, indicated that another bidder was Wynn Resorts Ltd., possibly in partnership with Mohegan Sun, although there was no official announcement on Monday.

Even if the politicians can end their bickering, it is believed that Aqueduct slots are two to three years away.