The state of New York can proceed with the evaluation process for the stalled Aqueduct casino project, but can’t award the deal to the lone remaining bidder until a legal challenge is resolved.
A state judge July 15 amended a temporary restraining order issued earlier in the week that banned the Lottery Division from continuing to work on the bid offered by Genting New York, which is tied to a big Malaysian casino company.
Aqueduct Entertainment Corp. sought the TRO before Supreme Court Judge Barry Kramer to try to get itself re-instated as the operator of the Aqueduct casino. Aqueduct Entertainment, a consortium of gambling and financial interests, had won a previous bidding round, but then was rejected as unable to be licensed by the Lottery agency, which oversees racetrack casino gambling in New York.
The state is now on its fourth round, and the Lottery division recently narrowed the field to one—Genting—after it said two other bidding groups failed to follow the procurement rules.
Kramer this week ordered the agency to stop the vetting and evaluation process of Genting and said it could not award the project until the case by Aqueduct Entertainment is settled. A hearing on the TRO is set for July 23.
On July 15, Kramer amended his order, according to Lottery officials, to let the state get back to its evaluation work, which includes a detailed background check of the Genting investors and executives who would be involved in the Aqueduct casino.
Latif Doman, a lawyer for Aqueduct Entertainment, said his client offered the suggestion agreed to by Kramer.
Jennifer Givner, a Lottery spokeswoman, said the state and Aqueduct Entertainment agreed to the change in the TRO.