Casino Watch Focus has reported on the shaky greyhound industry in Florida. The industry as a whole is struggling to stay in business and bad press and concerns over criminals running tracks and animals being mistreated has created a touch image for tracks and its clear they are on the verge of collapse. A new ruling by the Florida Supreme Court may provide a temporary boost to some tracks in the form of card rooms. Given the scope is so narrow, allowing only two tracks this new gambling expansion ability, it may have little impact on the overall industry. The Panama City News Herald reports:
Overturning a lower-court decision, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that at least two greyhound tracks can operate satellite card rooms without live racing.
Siding with the Palm Beach Kennel Club, the 5-1 opinion upheld the constitutionality of a law allowing jai alai permit holders to convert dormant, or unused, permits into greyhound permits if they meet certain conditions. The law also allows greyhound permit holders to open card rooms at satellite facilities without live racing, again if certain conditions are met. That combination would allow the Palm Beach dog track and the Daytona Beach Kennel Club to open satellite card rooms.
Time will tell how much expansion this will create in Florida. Once interpretation of the new ruling suggests that other facilities will, in fact, be able to benefit. The Panama City News Herald explains:
Under the law, a jai alai permit could be converted in a county in which the state “has issued only two pari-mutuel permits” and only if the jai alai permit had not previously been converted from another class of permit and jai alai games had not been performed there for at least 10 years.
But, in a 30-page opinion written by Chief Justice Jorge Labarga, the majority agreed with attorney Barry Richard, who represented the Palm Beach greyhound track during oral arguments last year, that the lower court wrongly construed the words “only” and “has issued” when interpreting the statute. The different definitions would mean that “there is a reasonable possibility that (the law) could apply to 10 of the 11 jai alai permits in the state,” Labarga wrote.
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