In his statement today to announce the recommendation of NYRA to continue operating the state's horseracing franchise, Eliot Spitzer included this key line:
"The state, in consultation with NYRA, will choose an experienced gaming operator to operate the VLT franchise at Aqueduct."
The VLT franchise is the lucrative casino operation whose operator will be picked within sixty days. So now the question is, who will NYRA recommend? They seem to have worked closely with Excelsior before, and seem likely to recommend to the governor that the franchise be awarded to that group.
Would that recommendation be enough to give the administration, which also has ties to Excelsior, cover against the inevitable conflict-of-interest accusations that will follow the decision?
UPDATE: Karl O’Farrell, Chief Executive Officer of Capital Play Inc, said the group was “disappointed,“ with Spitzer’s recommendation, but added, “We intend to cooperate with the Governor and the State Legislature to demonstrate that Capital Play is the best team for racing and VLTs.”