Despite Friday’s demise of the exclusive talks between Genting Malaysia and New York City’s economic development agency over the proposed $4b casino/convention center on the site of New York’s Aqueduct racetrack, the Asian casino operator says it will take part in the competitive bid process that Gov. Andrew Cuomo now intends to hold for the project. Meanwhile, Friday’s news sent Genting stock falling 4.1% on Monday and a further 0.56% on Tuesday.
Since Friday’s news broke, evidence was brought to light of the lengths to which Genting was prepared to go to win the coveted New York casino concession. The New York Times reported that the Committee to Save New York (CSNY) – a 501(c)4 social advocacy group dedicated to promoting Gov. Cuomo’s agenda – had received $2m in donations in December 2011 from the New York Gaming Association, a trade group founded by Genting and other state racetrack and slots operators. Individually, Genting contributed a further $400k to CSNY. The very next month, Cuomo announced the Aqueduct destination casino project was a go and Genting, which already had its slots operation running at the Aqueduct, was announced as the sole developer with whom New York would discuss the new project.
Since the donation story broke, Cuomo’s office has denied that the money influenced his decision to back a push for New York non-tribal casinos. To which Genting must be saying, well, maybe, but seriously, how much grease do you have to apply to a Governor’s palms before your inside track to casino exclusivity is a given? Now MGM Resorts and Las Vegas Sands are sniffing around Manhattan, making Genting just another face in the crowd, and a foreign one at that.
Slightly north, Caesars Entertainment has unveiled plans for its $1b, 200k-sq.-ft. “world class destination resort casino” at East Boston’s Suffolk Downs racetrack. The joint would feature between 4k-5k slots, 200 gaming and poker tables, 10 restaurants and a 300-room hotel (with an option for a second 150-room hotel). Massachusetts has passed legislation allowing up to three casinos in the state, with Caesars widely considered to have the inside track on winning the Eastern Massachusetts allotment following the withdrawal of competing bids from Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands.
Speaking of Sands, its mercurial kingpin Sheldon Adelson saw his personal fortune take a hit following last week’s reports that growth in the Asian gambling hotspot of Macau had slowed from meteoric to merely Saturn V booster rocket-like. Once people had a good night’s sleep and acknowledged the fact that despite slowing growth, May still produced the second best monthly revenue total in Macau’s history, the smart money flowed back into Sands shares. The result? Sands rose 5.48% on Tuesday, which Forbes claims boosted Adelson’s personal fortune by $1.01b in a single day. Kinda puts that fiver you discovered in your pants pockets on washday in perspective, don’t it?