NEW YORK (Reuters) - Delaware North has failed to raise the money to pay New York $370 million for the rights to build a new casino at New York’s Aqueduct Racetrack, which means the venture must be rebid, state and company officials said on Wednesday.
The privately held Buffalo-based company, which operates casinos at a number of racetracks, was selected largely because of its promise to make the upfront payment by March 31.
But William Bissett, who is leading the company’s Aqueduct venture, said that credit markets have “deteriorated” since that offer was made in October 2007.
“We were very disappointed to learn that the state cannot accept our proposal to restructure the financial offer,” Bissett said in a statement.
New York had hoped to garner more than $10 billion over 30 years by giving gamblers another option at Aqueduct, which is located in New York City’s borough of Queens.
Aqueduct can be reached by subways and commuter trains, which means it would offer New York City dwellers much closer gaming than either New Jersey’s Atlantic City or Connecticut’s Indian casinos.
Errol Cockfield, a spokesman for Gov. David Paterson, said the state would forge ahead.
“In cooperation with the legislature, we will commence a new process for selection for the video lottery terminal facility at Aqueduct Racetrack,” Cockfield said.
New York must close a $14 billion budget deficit, mainly because its economic motor, Wall Street, is still racking up billions of dollars of losses. The upfront payment from Delaware North was one of a series of revenue-raising exercises Paterson had counted on to help balance the budget, which is due on April 1.
The list of developers that vied for the Aqueduct casino included the Seminole tribe, which was expected to partner with SL Green Realty Corp along with Hard Rock Casinos, and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority and the Victoria Racing Club, which were working with New York-based Capital Play.
Additional reporting by Elizabeth Flood Morrow in Albany; Editing by Jan Paschal