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LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Hip-Hop mogul Russell Simmons has joined Penn National Gaming's bid to operate a casino at the historic Aqueduct Race Track in New York City.
Penn National, one of six casino operators bidding for the license to operate 4,500 slot machine-like video lottery terminals at Aqueduct, located in the city's Queen borough.
In a statement, Penn National said it has reached a community relations agreement with Simmons' Rush Communications of New York City and a labor framework agreement with the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO.
In its capacity as community relations advisor on this project, Simmons' company will be involved in public affairs and in advising Penn National on its planned local community relations and outreach, charitable donations, diversity and humane initiatives.
"As a Queens native, I am sensitive to the developmental needs, educational opportunities and other conditions that can benefit from Penn National's plan for the Aqueduct facility," Simmons said.
Simmons has been a "hip-hop pioneer" for his influence in music, fashion, finance, television and film. He founded Def Jam Recordings in 1984.
Six different bids have been submitted for the Aqueduct gaming license, which will be selected by New York's governor. All the bids contain a casino operation element.
Penn National is competing with Wynn Resorts Ltd., Harrah Entertainment, MGM Mirage, Las Vegas-based Navegante Group and the Seminole Indians' Hard Rock Casino Group for the license.