Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New York Governor's Misfortune Improves Mohegan's Aqueduct VLT Chances

Feather News

The news yesterday that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was involved with a prostitute may cost him his job. In a press conference yesterday, Spitzer did not respond to questions about whether he would resign or if he would be charged with a crime.

A proposal by the Mohegan Tribe, in partnership with Capital Play, to run horse racing at N.Y. tracks was rejected by Spitzer in October but the tribe's proposal to operate a proposed VLT slot parlor at the Aqueduct race track in Queens, N.Y., is still alive.

If Spitzer resigns, the tribe's chances of receiving the VLT franchise may improve. If Spitzer doesn't resign and is not impeached, his leverage in selecting a VLT operator with N.Y. lawmakers will be significantly diminished.

The tribe and its partner are competing against 5 other groups vying for the franchise. Four of the six proposals involve Indian tribes: the Mohegans, Mashantucket Pequots, Senecas and Shinnecocks.

The Governor was expected to select the winner of the VLT franchise in March. The tribe's chances to receive that franchise were dim considering Capital Play's agressive television advertising campaign (http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=1305095181) criticizing Spitzer's selection of New York Racing Associates (NYRA) to operate the race tracks.

Spitzer announced his selection of NYRA in October 2007 but the state approved a deal in February that allows NYRA to run the Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga race tracks for the next 25 years. Under the deal, NYRA will receive more than $200 million in bailouts and debt forgiveness from the state while it relinquishes ownership claims of those tracks.

If Spitzer resigns, Lt. Governor David Paterson would serve as governor until Dec. 31, 2010, when Spitzer's elected term ends. Paterson is a black Democrat from Harlem and is mostly blind. Paterson has a friendly relationship with the state's Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

Capital Play representatives were reportedly seen at Bruno's office during the closing days of the race track negotiations between Spitzer and Bruno.

See related articles: