07/16/2007 12:00AM

New York bidder takes partner


Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, the owner and operator of the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut, has reached an agreement to join Capital Play Inc., one of the groups that has made presentations to take over the franchise held by the New York Racing Association, according to the two companies.

The agreement designates Mohegan, which also operates a slot-machine casino in Pennsylvania, to operate casinos as part of the partnership if the Australian-based Capital Play were awarded the franchise. Details of the agreement were not disclosed.

NYRA's franchise to operate Aqueduct, Belmont, Saratoga, and a slot-machine casino at Aqueduct expires at the end of this year. Though legislation authorizes slot machines at Aqueduct, a casino at the track has yet to be approved by the state, and slot machines are explicitly illegal at Belmont, though state officials have considered asking the legislature to approve the devices at that track.

Capital Play's bid was launched by Karl O'Farrell and several other Australian business associates. In Australia, Capital Play operates a bookmaking business that includes giving Australian bettors the ability to wager into North American pools.

Capital Play is one of four groups to formally express an interest in the franchise, though it is unclear how the franchise will be awarded. Any deal to award the franchise must be approved by New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and the New York legislature.