asino revenue will be used to shore up funding at the New York Racing Association Inc., which operates thoroughbred horse racing at Saratoga Race Course, in Saratoga Springs, New York, as well as Aqueduct and Belmont Park, another downstate track.
Last month, state legislators approved a us$ 25 million bridge loan for NYRA, to keep operations running this year while the state vets the casino bids. On Wednesday, the state Division of the Lottery, which is overseeing the casino bidding, announced the field of candidates.
Three of the six firms have participated in earlier rounds of bidding: Delaware North Cos., headquartered in Buffalo; Penn National, SL Green Realty Corp. There are also three new bidders: Empire City Casino/Yonkers Raceway, Genting New York LLC, a major shareholder in Empire Resorts Inc. and one of Asian largest casino operators and Clairvest Group, a Toronto-based private-equity firm.
Clairvest was involved in the previous round of bidding as one member of a consortium called Aqueduct Entertainment Group. Twice in the past 12 months, the state has nixed deals with winning bidders.
In January 2010, Aqueduct Entertainment Group was named the winning bidder. In March, Paterson canceled the controversial deal after state and federal investigators began probing the group and the bidding process.
In spring 2009, Governor David Paterson canceled a deal with Delaware North, because it could not tap the credit necessary to pay a us$ 370 million licensing fee all at once. Last month, the state announced it was again rebidding the contract. The lottery division expects to recommend a winning bidder to Paterson in early August.
The state plans to issue bonds generating us$ 250 million of proceeds, to be used to help fund the project. All six bidders must attend a conference with the state on June 8. Final proposals are due June 29. The winning bidder will be required to pay at least a us$ 300 million licensing fee to the state.