The State of New York is nothing if not persistent when it comes to adding slot machines at the Aqueduct racetrack.
And it is nothing if not slower than expected.
In what is now at least the eighth year of attempts to remake the Aqueduct in one form or another, the Paterson administration’s Division of Lottery on Tuesday issued a request for proposals to find an operator to build a racino at the Queens raceway, filling it with Video Lottery Terminals (a.k.a. slot machines).
This is a move that Governor Paterson had promised after the last round fell apart amid allegations of favoritism and an onslaught of negative attention swept over him. (He picked the now-defunct Aqueduct Entertainment Group, then met with AEG member Floyd Flake days later to talk politics, giving the appearance that a possible endorsement influenced the selection.)
But it will take a few months yet.
While administration officials initially pledged a new winner by June—complete with $300 million via a licensing fee to pad the state’s troubled budget—now the RFP calls for a “Apparent Winning Proposal Announced” on Aug. 3. (That, as the Divison of Lottery notes, is a “highly compressed timeframe,” making one wonder how the agency could fully evaluate offers should new proposals come from teams other than the previous bidders.)
Proposals are due June 29, and the RFP is below.