And then there was one.
In a surprising and somewhat unexpected twist, the New York Lottery announced that two of the three proposals vying for the development and operation of a video lottery casino at Aqueduct racetrack have been disqualified.
The two disqualified proposals were submitted by a consortium consisting of SL Green, Hard Rock International and Clairvest Group; and by Penn National Gaming. The third proposal submitted by Genting New York appears to conform with all requirements of the bid submission process and will continue to be evaluated, according to lottery officials.
Lottery officials said the SL Green group and Penn National did not agree to all of the state’s terms it set for the operator of the franchise, including a $300 million, nonrefundable licensing fee due before the final contract was signed and paying off a portion of the New York Racing Association’s debt.
A lottery spokesperson said it will continue to perform a full evaluation of the remaining bidder’s proposal. Genting is a subsidiary of a large Asian gaming company.
The lottery is refunding the $1 million entry fees paid by SL Green and Penn National, in addition to the refunds of earlier bidders Delaware North and Empire City. Those two companies declined to submit a final bid, citing the state’s financial demands as reason for not pursuing the Aqueduct franchise.
Genting now appears to have the inside track in operating the racino complex at Aqueduct that will include 4,500 Video Lottery Terminals, restaurants and an entertainment venue. That operation, like similar racinos in Yonkers and Saratoga Springs, falls under the purview of the state lottery.
According to the lottery, if the Genting proposal is not approved, neither SL Green nor Penn National will be eligible for reconsideration because of their failure to conform to the financial demands the state put forth in its RFP.
If the New York Lottery determines that the Genting proposal satisfies all the requirements and that all the entities and individuals associated with Genting’s proposal are eligible for a New York video lottery license, it expects to make a recommendation by Aug. 3. The proposal would have to be approved by the governor, Assembly speaker and Senate president.