UPDATE 1-NY state must pick new Aqueduct slot vendor-Gov

Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:03pm EST

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NEW YORK, March 11 (Reuters) - New York should choose a new slot machine vendor for Aqueduct Racetrack in a quick and "apolitical" manner now that the Lottery Division has rejected the winning bidder, Governor David Paterson said Thursday.

"The Executive Branch advocates that the selection of the Aqueduct VLT (video lottery terminal) franchisee be done pursuant to an expedited, transparent, apolitical and publicly accountable procurement process," the Democratic government said in a statement.

His comments come amid a state and federal probe of whether he selected Aqueduct Entertainment Group for the lucrative contract to assist a political ally.

The governor had already said the state could not count on the $300 million Aqueduct Entertainment Group was scheduled to pay on March 31.

New York has been seeking for about a decade to boost gaming revenue by adding slot machines to the horsetrack, located in the New York City Borough of Queens.

The list of previous companies that bid for the contract included: SL Green Realty Corp (SLG.N) with Seminole Hard Rock Casinos, MGM (MGM.N), Harrah's Entertainment HAMLEH.UL, Pennsylvania National, Wynn Resorts Ltd (WYNN.O), Delaware North, The Peebles Corporation, and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority and the Victoria Racing Club, which were working with New York-based Capital Play.

(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Diane Craft)