2010-08-27 / Top Stories

Genting Gets Aqueduct Nod, Possible Problems Ahead

Governor David A. Paterson, Senate Conference Leader John Sampson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced last week that they had given their approval to the Division of Lottery’s recommendation to award Genting New York the right to develop and operate a video lottery terminal facility at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park.

Insiders say, however, that there are still several stumbling blocks before Genting begins construction, including a lawsuit brought by the Aqueduct Entertainment Corporation, a consortium that was granted the license only to see it taken away, and some new information that Genting might have ties to a Chinese businessman with mob ties.

Genting New York’s selection follows an extensive evaluation process modeled after State procurement rules. The Office of the Attorney General and Office of the State Comptroller must now review and approve the plan before the process can move forward, a spokesperson for the Lottery Division said.

“After an extensive review of the applicants and the final Division of Lottery recommendation, I am pleased to announce my support for Genting New York to build and operate the video slots parlor at Aqueduct,” Governor Paterson said. “Genting emerged as the winner of a highly competitive process that saw potential bidders narrowed from an original pool of seven down to one. I commend Senate Conference Leader Sampson and Assembly Speaker Silver for join- ing me in support of Genting New York and revitalizing the Aqueduct Racetrack.” As the Lottery stated in its recommendation letter, Genting’s proposal was far superior, in concept, scope, detail and execution, as compared to previous rounds of evaluation. Lottery’s strong recommendation is based on the merits of the proposal, which was vastly reinforced by Genting’s financial offer of $380 million as an upfront licensing fee. In addition, Genting is highly sensitive to the community issues, labor requirements and social concerns that a project of such scope encompasses.

In addition to the upfront fee, the Aqueduct facility will generate an estimated $300 million a year for Lottery Aid-to-Education statewide. Locally, Genting’s development will generate 1,300 jobs during the construction phase and 800 jobs in the operation of the facility. The firm has also committed to donate one percent of net profits to the Queens community.

The selection process initially included interest from seven potential bidders. Six of the seven parties submitted a $1 million required entry fee to be eligible to participate, which culminated in three companies submitting proposals to the Lottery on June 29, 2010. On July 6, 2010, the Lottery disqualified two of the three proposals for numerous non-conforming provisions contained within their proposals. The Lottery then proceeded to review the remaining proposal submitted by Genting. On August 3, 2010, the Lottery issued its recommendation to the Governor stating that the Evaluation Committee unanimously supported Genting’s proposal.

The lawsuit, currently in state court, says that the Aqueduct Entertainment Corporation, formerly called AEG, was illegally kept from getting the nod after the state Lottery Commission ruled that several of its partners were “unlicensable.”

The new charges against Genting concern a high-stakes VIP room in a Macau casino partially owned by the daughter of a Chinese businessman with mob ties. The posh betting room is tucked into a casino built by MGM resorts and Pansy Ho, published reports say. Ho is the daughter of Stanley Ho, reputed to be the local gambling mob boss.

A spokesperson for the Lottery Commission, however, said that the agency knew of the ties and considered them not relevant.

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