Tedisco: Third Time Must Be The Charm In Aqueduct Bid

Assemblyman calls for governor, Legislature to help Capital District by awarding vendor
May 13, 2010
Assemblyman James N. Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today called upon Governor Paterson and state officials to ensure a timely and reliable bidding process be followed in naming an operator for Aqueduct Race Track. Tedisco responded to an announcement that the state would reopen the bidding process. He said the Capital District and state economy were in dire need of the revenue that would come from the long-overdue selection of a vendor.

“Nine years and two governors have passed since we authorized the construction of video lottery terminals (VLTs) at Aqueduct,” said Tedisco. “Unfortunately, New Yorkers have yet to see the contract that would generate hundreds of millions for the state and have a tremendous impact upon the Saratoga Race Course and surrounding community. With each passing day, we lose critical revenue at a time when our state and taxpayers can least afford it.”

In 2001, the state agreed to authorize 4,500 video lottery terminals (VLTs) at Aqueduct. The first bid, with Delaware North Cos. Inc., fell apart in March 2009 because the company could not get the necessary financing to meet the state’s licensing requirements. This past January, the second deal with Aqueduct Entertainment Group fell through amid state and federal investigations into the alleged improprieties surrounding the bidding process.

Revenue forecasts predict that the state would see an immediate gain of approximately $300 million from the successful bidder. Once running, the VLTs are expected to generate approximately $1 million per day. Tedisco pointed to the significant local impact this would have, with Saratoga Race Course receiving $30 million for capital renovations.

“Inaction in Albany is a direct threat to the restaurant, hospitality, retail and service industries, as well as the numerous horse farms and training facilities located throughout Saratoga County and the Capital Region,” Tedisco said. “Our local businesses and families cannot afford another failed bidding process. We need a swift, transparent selection of a vendor to ensure the viability of the historic Saratoga Race Course. We can ill afford to let this economic engine sputter, as it attracts tourists, prominent racers, and distinguished horses from around the world.”