NY Senate to go along with Aqueduct slots deal

October 22, 2008 5:53:01 PM PDT
The state Senate's Republican majority is going along with a $370 million deal to bring video slot machines to Aqueduct Race Track after stalling for nearly two weeks. During a televised debate Wednesday, Queens Republican Sen. Serphin Maltese said the Senate will endorse the deal because the company picked for the project has since provided more detailed information and a commitment to develop the area surrounding the track.

Gov. David Paterson and the Assembly's Democratic majority earlier this month chose Delaware North Co. to build and operate a facility with 4,500 slot machines at the state's track. The Buffalo-based company's $370 million up-front payment was the most immediate cash offered by any of the three bidders.

But Senate leaders objected, insisting the company include plans for more local jobs and neighborhood improvements.

The deal requires the approval of the governor as well as both houses of the Legislature.

Aqueduct is in Maltese's district, where he is facing a strong challenge from Democratic opponent Joe Addabbo in a race that that could determine whether Republicans maintain control of the Senate.

Maltese said he arranged a meeting with representatives of Delaware North and Queens community leaders last week, and the company provided new details for economic development near the race track and a commitment to work with members of the community as the project goes forward.

Delaware North's upfront payment could help ease the state's multibillion dollar budget deficit this year. Officials also are planning for about $250 million in direct revenue to the current budget from the Aqueduct machines.

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