Andrew Cuomo May Decide Fate of Aqueduct Casino Gambling
Andrew Cuomo confirmed what many considered a certainty, that he is running for governor of New York. With that move, the state's current Attorney General has put himself into position to unravel the mess surrounding the bidding for Aqueduct's proposed casino and determine the operator who will introduce slot gambling at the race track.
New York officials are anxiously awaiting the revenue which could be produced by the opening of a casino at famed Aqueduct Racetrack. But years of politicizing the process for selecting the developer for the gambling venue has led to criminal investigation and the restart of a bidding procedure already twice completed.
Cuomo will run to succeed David Paterson, who faces federal investigation into his handling of the bids to run Aqueduct. After the winner of the first bidding process was unable to locate the necessary financing to construct the casino, Paterson conducted a second search, and awarded the gambling rights to Aqueduct Entertainment Group.
But questions arose immediately about AEG being given details of a higher bid by Penn National, and a chance to rebid at the higher level. Also, Paterson's ties to AEG supporters Reverend Floyd Flake and entertainer Jay-Z brought inquiries about improper influence.
The process is starting again from scratch, continuing a pattern of wasted years that led Steve Wynn to withdraw his casino company from consideration. While the governor's election is months away, the new governor will certainly influence the development of any casino at Aqueduct.
Cuomo will assuredly be watching the Aqueduct bidding process closely, both as AG to avoid further malfeasance, and as a candidate who says the state needs to "put its
fiscal house in order" without raising taxes.
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