07/13/2010 11:00PM

Judge blocks New York casino action


A New York state supreme court judge has issued a temporary restraining order blocking the state lottery from issuing a recommendation on an operator for a casino at Aqueduct.

Judge Barry Kramer of State Supreme Court in Schenectady County issued the restraining order in response to a lawsuit filed by Aqueduct Entertainment Group, a sprawling partnership whose bid for the casino was thrown out last year. In the suit, attorneys for the group argued that the New York State Lottery disqualified the bid illegally.

Kramer has scheduled a hearing for the morning of July 23 to hear the group's arguments in the suit. Until then, the lottery will not be able to issue a recommendation on whether it finds Genting New York, a Malaysian gaming company, suitable to operate the casino at Aqueduct. Genting is the only bidder involved in the process following last week's decision by the lottery to disqualify the only other two bidders. The lottery has said it will issue its recommendation on Genting on Aug. 3.

Lafit Doman, an attorney for Aqueduct Entertainment Group, said that the New York lottery scuttled the group's chances to win the license by contending that former members of the partnership would not have been able to pass the licensing requirements.

"We were denied the license under some very peculiar circumstances," Doman said.

The Aqueduct casino was first approved in 2001. A variety of political, financial, and legal complications have persistently delayed attempts to name an operator for the casino, which will likely be one of the highest-grossing casino properties on the East Coast.