Aqueduct racino contest down to three bidders

The state’s fifth round of requests for proposals to develop and operate the long-delayed Aqueduct racino in Ozone Park, Queens drew three bidders before yesterday’s deadline, Crain’s reported. Still in the running are Genting New York, an arm of a Malaysian investment firm that operates foreign casinos, Penn National Gaming and a partnership between SL Green and Toronto-based Clairvest Group. Each has agreed to pay $300 million upfront if selected. Both SL Green and Penn National were part of previous failed rounds of bidding, while Clairvest was a partner in Aqueduct Entertainment Group’s winning — but then aborted — bid in the last selection round and had submitted its own $1 million refundable entry fee into the bidding process earlier this month. In a controversial move last year, the state awarded a contract to AEG, only to withdraw its support after the group was denied a gaming license and an investigation was launched into the selection process. Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway and Delaware North, both of which had initially entered the bidding contest earlier this month, have both dropped out of the running. The state’s Lottery Division plans to review the submissions over the next five weeks and to make a recommendation to Gov. David Paterson, who will be bound by the agency’s pick, Aug. 3. [Crain’s]

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