Court Ruling Allows Limited Gambling Expansion in Florida

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to expand gambling in Florida.  The latest round attempted to take advantage of a type of loophole in proposed legislation to allow expanded gambling around greyhound racing and poker & slot machine permits. Now it appears that a court ruling is allowing something very similar, this time revolving around jai alai.  Jai Alai is a sporting event that pari-mutual gambling is allowed to revolve around in Florida.  There are other forms of gambling allowed to take place at these pari-mutual gambling facilities and as the Miami Herald explainsa new court ruling affirming a loophole in existing law will allow for gambling expansion:

Florida City could be home to Miami Dade’s next poker room and, with time, slot machines, under a loophole in the law affirmed Tuesday by a state appeals court.

The decision by the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee overruled state regulators and said that Magic City’s parent company, West Flagler Associates, is eligible to obtain a summer jai alai permit that could also open the door to expanded gambling.

Because of a loophole in state law, West Flagler is required to obtain the jai alai permit then operate a single jai alai game to be eligible for a poker room. After two years, it could become eligible for a slot machine license in Miami Dade County.

Isadore Havenick, West Flagler owner and vice president, said the company has an option to buy a piece of property in Florida City and, if the division grants the summer jai alai permit as expected, the company plans to build a poker room and jai alai fronton near Homestead there.

As for building a new casino, “we honestly haven’t thought that far in advance,’’ Havenick told the Herald/Times. “Now, it’s a poker room and a jai alai fronton and, hopefully, we’ll be allowed to build that if the division allows us.”

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