12:31 pm Jan. 9, 2012
The company looking to build the country's largest convention center in Queens is not demanding exclusivity rights on casino gambling, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a radio interview this morning, in a discussion about the deal he's negotiating with the Malaysian-based Genting company.
"The casinos have not come up," Cuomo told Fred Dicker, the state editor for the New York Post, whose paper reported last week on the exclusivity demand from Genting.
"The conversation with Genting" will be about "the expansion of the racino," Cuomo said, referring to the limited gambling parlor currently at Aqueduct that includes slot machines but no live gambling tables for games like poker or roulette.
Cuomo expressed confidence in Genting and praised what they've already done at Aqueduct.
"I haven't been there myself but everyone who goes says it's a fantastic facility," he said.
The convention center would create "tens of thousands of jobs, OK, construction and permanent," Cuomo said.
Cuomo also criticized an editorial in Dicker's newspaper today which questioned the governor's proposal to build a convention center and casino at Aqueduct. The editorial questioned the process and substance of Cuomo's dealmaking.
"Competitive bidding? Cuomo’s never heard of it," the Post says. "Meanwhile, the convention industry is in decline. And casinos rarely pay off as predicted."
"It was fairly ironic to me that [Post editorial page editor Bob] McManus would now argue that this private-sector company doesn't know what they're talking about, which is basically what his argument comes down to," Cuomo said.
"Maybe he would suggest government would go to private-sector companies and say, 'Let me tell you how to run your business because you really don't know what you're talking about,'" Cuomo said, adding that it was a "total reversal of the ultra-conservative orthodoxy."
"I thought the private sector knew better," the governor said. "I thought the government should stay out of the hair of the private sector and should just release the entrepreneurial energy. Now, Genting says 'We have an economic vision.' I'm supposed to say, 'No, no, you don't know what you're talking about.'"
Cuomo, at one point in the interview, said, "I'm not in a position to second-guess a private-sector company. I don't believe that's my role."
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