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Queens Chronicle

Bidders have concerns

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Posted: Thursday, June 10, 2010 12:00 am

Money was on the minds of the racino bidders who met at Aqueduct Race Track Tuesday afternoon for a tour of the grounds and mandatory meeting to discuss the strict project requirements.

Five of the six contenders, including SL Green Realty Group, Delaware North, Penn National Gaming and newcomers Empire City Casino-Yonkers Raceway, and Genting New York — which runs several gaming and resort establishments in Malaysia — expressed concern over the business risk associated with laying out so much money.

Costs include a $1 million refundable entry fee, which all bidders have submitted, and a $300 million upfront payment. Additionally, bidders are required to pay $25 million of the New York Racing Association’s debt and quite possibly additional city fees and taxes.

Representatives from Toronto-based Clairvest Group were also present, but were not as vocal about their concerns. Clairvest was a partner in Aqueduct Entertainment Group, the bidder selected in the last round to run a complex that includes 4,500 video lottery terminals, restaurants and an entertainment venue. AEG was disqualified shortly after its selection amidst suspicions of political favoritism.

The New York Lottery Division, which will score each bidder and make recommendations, will respond to bidders’ questions throughout the month of June.

Bidders’ proposals are due on June 29 and the Lottery will make its recommendations to Gov. David Paterson and Senate and Assembly leaders in the beginning of August.

A winner is expected to be announced in August.

Welcome to the discussion.