03/11/2009 12:00AM

Aqueduct casino stalled


It's back to square one for the Aqueduct racino.

Delaware North Companies Gaming and Entertainment informed New York's Gov. David Paterson on Tuesday that it will be unable to secure the financing to pay the state a $370 million licensing fee by a March 31 deadline to operate a 4,500-machine video-lottery terminal parlor at Aqueduct.

Delaware North officials blamed "a deterioration of the credit and equity financial markets in this recession economy" for its inability to get the proper financing. Delaware North said it remains committed to doing the project.

The governor's office has said that it now must reopen the bidding for the project, but did not give a timetable for when that process would begin.

"In cooperation with the legislature, we will commence a new process for selection of the operator for the Video Lottery Terminal facility at Aqueduct Racetrack," the governor said in a press release.

Charles Hayward, president and CEO of the New York Racing Association, which operates Aqueduct, said he was "disappointed" with the latest developments, but added "I'm optimistic the governor's office has good people on the case and that something will get done sooner rather than later."

Hayward said that NYRA has enough cash to operate uninterrupted through the third quarter of 2010.

Legislation to allow video lottery terminals at Aqueduct was passed in 2001.