Judge jams Aqueduct Racino bid

A State Supreme Court judge has slammed the brakes on the one-horse race to operate a Racino at Aqueduct, so he can consider whether the state wrongly rejected the previous winner.

Judge Barry Kramer issued a restraining order on Wednesday, July 14 – stopping the process until a hearing on Friday, July 23.

The lawsuit, filed by Aqueduct Entertainment Corp. (formerly Aqueduct Entertainment Group), seeks to restore their contract. The Lottery, Governor David A. Paterson, Senate President Malcolm Smith and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are named as respondents.

A source close to the process said they expected the Lottery to immediately ask for the order to be lifted.

Still, the current heir-apparent, Genting NY, LLC is “in this for the long haul,” said Jay Walker, speaking for gaming magnate KT Lim and management of the family-controlled, publically-traded parent corporation, Genting Malaysia Berhad.

Walker pointed out that the company already operates the largest casino in the world, in their 10,000 room hotel. “They just built a $4.3 billion casino resort in Singapore that includes a Universal Studios theme park. It’s a first in Asia,” he added, saying “They know how to do it right.”

The litigation, or a possible Indian casino on Long Island, is of little concern to the company, Walker insisted. “KT knows if you want to play in New York, you have to play by New York rules. But you don’t have to worry about regime change – at least, the laws remain the same.”

Walker stressed that the plan calls for more than “slots in a box” while remaining within the already-approved “footprint,” so as not to trigger any compliance issues.

The public meeting of Community Board 10 at the South Ozone Park track on Thursday, July 15 will start at 6 p.m. as planned, according to CB10 chair Betty Braton. Genting representatives will be there, Walker said.

“We’re intensely sensitive to the fact that to be successful, you need community support,” Walker said, adding “At the meeting, we’re going to make every effort to demonstrate that we are as committed to being supportive of the community as anyone.”

“They don’t know all about dealing with New York,” Walker admitted. “But they know JFK airport has 48 million travelers annually and New York City has 48 million tourists annually. They know that if you do it right, you can have great success,” he said.

“They do it right.”