Delaware North Recruits Minority Firms - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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Hospitality company Delaware North will create 2,000 jobs when it builds a video lottery terminal at the Aqueduct Racetrack in New York, but its equity partnership with two of the nation’s most successful minority firms is proof that minority venders will get a seat at the table.

Delaware North identified the Peebles Corp. and McKissack & McKissack as prime contractors on the project, and together the three firms promised an upfront investment for the state gaming licensing fee that was significantly more than other bidders.

“Delaware North by far had the strongest upfront financial commitment of $370 million to the state,” says a spokesman in Gov. David A Paterson’s office. “In addition, the company has a proven track record in operating video lottery terminals in New York State.”

The New York State Legislature and Paterson awarded Delaware North the contract based on that investment and their previous success with Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, which was New York State’s first entrée into video lottery gaming. Saratoga generated more than $200 million in aid to education since it opened in 2004.

Delaware North and its partners hope to produce similar revenues by renovating the 192-acre dilapidated Aqueduct Racetrack. From the Aqueduct Video Lottery Terminal, $1 million per day will be distributed to the state to provide resources for elementary and secondary education. It will amount to an estimated $8.2 billion for New York State education over the next 30 years, according to the state.

“We hope the revenues would be sufficient to pay back the investment in the first 10 years,” says Don Peebles, owner and CEO of Peebles Corp., who says the racetrack and casino will be a world-class destination that will also include an upgraded grandstand clubhouse, restaurant, parking lot facility, and retail stores.

New York State will provide Delaware North with $250 million to build and operate the video lottery facility and renovate the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York. Once built, Delaware North estimates that they will invest an additional $170 million in capital to maintain the VLT facility over the life of the 30-year contract. All companies would not state their specific investment, but said that the ultimate cost of construction may have increased beyond $250 million as a result of increased cost of materials.

“We have a significant interest in the gaming side and an equal interest in the overall development of the project,” Peebles says. “Because of the close proximity to New York City, we hope to attract conferences and leisure customers interested in gaming, entertainment and shopping,” says Peebles, who hopes to reach 10,000 visitors per day immediately upon completion. He hopes that number will double over time.

Delaware North’s commitment to including minority firms also played a role in the state choosing them for the project, but William Bissett, president of gaming and entertainment at Delaware North Co., says they chose McKissack and Peebles based on the quality of their work.

“We’ve had scores of relationships with minority partners over those years. It is something that we do quite naturally. We

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.