Malaysian gaming company makes bid for Aqueduct VLTs – QNS.com

Malaysian gaming company makes bid for Aqueduct VLTs

There are six contenders interested in the video lottery terminal contract for Aqueduct Race Track.
By Howard Koplowitz

A Malaysian-based powerhouse in the gaming market is among the six groups vying for the contract to operate and install 4,500 video lottery terminals at Aqueduct Race Track.

Genting NY is a subsidiary of the Kuala Lumpur-based Genting Group, the largest casino operator in the United Kingdom, which is developing a resort in Singapore, according to the Genting Group website.

Genting, a $23.5 billion company, is one of the two latest bidders for the contract along with Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway, which runs 5,300 slot machines at the Westchester County track.

Aqueduct Entertainment Group, which was awarded the VLT contract earlier last year but deemed unlicensable by the state Lottery Division did not show an interest in participating in the latest round of bidding.

The Canadian-based merchant bank Clairvest Group, which was a part of AEG’s bid, indicated preliminary interest in the VLT contract when it and five other contenders attended a bidder’s conference last week at Aqueduct.

Clairvest invests its capital in entrepreneurial corporations, according to its website.

The six potential bidders have until June 30 to submit their plans to the state.

Among the stipulations this time around are that the groups are banned from lobbying activities tied to their bids and a minimum $300 million upfront payment is due to the state 10 days after the winner is selected.

Scrutiny of the AEG consortium picked up after Gov. David Paterson met with influential southeast Queens pastor and former congressman the Rev. Floyd Flake three days after AEG was selected for the VLT contract.

There was speculation that Paterson may have been trying to gain Flake’s influence by selecting AEG since the pastor had a 0.06 percent stake in the group. Flake had indicated he might support state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo if he ran against Paterson.

Flake wound up withdrawing from AEG, saying his involvement became a distraction from his other interests.

Three bidders from the prior selection process — Aqueduct Gaming, Penn National Gaming and SL Green — also attended last week’s potential bidders’ conference.

Aqueduct Gaming is led by Delaware North, a Buffalo-based hospitality company that was awarded the VLT contract in 2007, but had to withdraw after it could not come up with the $370 million upfront payment it promised the state.

Penn National Gaming, based in Pennsylvania, operates the Hollywood Casino in Graniteville, Pa.

SL Green is the largest commercial developer in the city.

The six contenders are not required to list who they are partnering with until bids are due June 30.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

More from Around New York