Gov. David A. Paterson's confidence in a deal to place video lottery terminals at Aqueduct Racetrack appeared to fade Wednesday.
The shortfall comes as Paterson predicts the state will end the fiscal year in the red, causing $2.1 billion in payments to be withheld from local governments, state employees and others - in part because of the faltering AEG bid.
"Without a successful bidder in the Aqueduct-VLT . . . we now project that shortfall to be $2.1 billion," he said.
Still Paterson declined to say whether the AEG deal to build a casino at Aqueduct is doomed.
"That is the lottery's decision, and we'll wait for the lottery to make a decision before speculating what we can do about it," said Paterson, who has recused himself from the issue on advice of his attorney.
Silver Wednesday said he would not comment until Inspector General Joseph Fisch completes his report on the bid process. Sampson spokesman Austin Shafran declined to say if Sampson believes AEG will ultimately prevail.
The Rev. Floyd Flake, a politically influential Queens minister whose support Paterson courted, quit the AEG partnership Tuesday. Flake, a former congressman, did not return calls Wednesday.
Neither AEG chief executive Jeffrey Levine nor his spokeswoman returned calls for comment Wednesday.
But state Sen. Craig Johnson (D-Port Washington) declared the deal "dead as a doornail." Johnson said Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch should take over negotiations from Paterson's aides, and if the AEG deal fails, state leaders should consider Belmont Park as an alternative casino site.
With James T. Madore