Aqueduct Racino Deal Collapses

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Well, there goes the AEG Aqueduct deal. Albany has withdrawn its support for the Aqueduct Entertainment Group bid that earlier this year won the "racino" video gaming concession at Aqueduct Raceway.

Today the state Division of the Lottery announced it "has concluded that it cannot issue a gaming license to Aqueduct Entertainment Group" due in part to lack of documentation needed for background checks.

Paterson wants a new procurement process -- which suggests new bids -- while state senate Democratic conference leader John Sampson says there's no time and wants one of the losers in the last bidding round chosen.

Governor Paterson had been gung-ho for AEG, whose founders included state senate president Malcolm Smith and former Queens congressman Rev. Floyd Flake. But as investigations commenced into the seeming sweetheart deal and other state politicians like Sheldon Silver (not to mention Jay-Z) pushed it to arm's length, Paterson's enthusiasm appeared to wane.

The racino has always been a shaky proposition, with projected incomes larger than perhaps the moribund local gambling industry can support. An earlier concessionaire, selected in 2008, withdrew when it was revealed it didn't have the money to pay the state for the privilege of running it.


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