04/22/2007 11:00PM

NYRA casino hearing adjourned


A hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan to discuss an agreement between the New York Racing Association and the state over a casino at Aqueduct was adjourned on Monday because negotiations over the agreement were still ongoing, NYRA officials said.

The negotiations, which NYRA is seeking in order to jump-start a long-delayed process to open the casino, continued on Monday among NYRA, MGM Grand, the state's lottery corporation, and officials representing Gov. Eliot Spitzer. A new date has not yet been scheduled for the bankruptcy hearing, NYRA officials said.

Slot machines were legalized at most racetracks in New York in 2001. Aqueduct is the only racetrack included in the legislation that has yet to open a casino.

NYRA has been engaged in negotiations with the state for several months in order to get approvals to open the casino, and last year filed a lawsuit against the administration of the former governor, George Pataki, alleging that the state had illegally blocked the project.

NYRA's chief executive, Charles Hayward, said on Monday that the negotiations have "several issues" outstanding, but that he was hopeful that an agreement could be reached within the next month.