Another Aqueduct racino deal is dead.
Embattled New York Governor David Paterson, who chose the Aqueduct Entertainment Group to build and operate New York City’s first casino, conceded last month that his choice did not pass muster with state licensing officials. Though several controversial investors jumped ship days before the announcement, it was too late to save the lucrative deal, which would have added an immediate $300 million in upfront fees to state coffers.
According to a senior administration official, AEG supplied insufficient financial details for some of its investors. In other cases, the New York Post reported, the state’s Lottery Division was “not comfortable” licensing some of the investors.
The decision was made just days after one of New York’s most powerful African American pastors announced that he was longer part of AEG. The Reverend Floyd Flake, who owned a minority stake in the company, supposedly had considered endorsing Paterson in a re-election bid rather than his previous choice, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. The Queens pastor’s choice of gubernatorial candidate became moot when Paterson announced he would not seek re-election.
Penn National Gaming, which lost to AEG even though it submitted the highest bid, has made no secret of its ongoing interest in the racino, which will include 4,500 slot machines.
“We’re hanging around the hoop and remain interested in Aqueduct, but we have to see how this plays out,” said Penn National Vice President Eric Schippers.