A little more than seven years after the first pari-mutuel slot casino opened in South Florida at Gulfstream Park, the finishing touches are being put on the eighth and final casino in Broward and Miami-Dade counties as envisioned in the original 2004 legislation. Expected to open later this month is the casino at Dania Jai-Alai, under new ownership eager to show off its Argentine casino expertise.


Previous owner Boyd Gaming had declined to build a slot casino at Dania, citing an unfavorable tax rate and too much local competition, including the massive Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood. Dania sits 5.3 miles due east of the Hard Rock, 4.4 miles north of  Mardi Gras and 6.4 miles north of Gulfstream Park. 14.7 miles to Dania’s north is the Isle Casino at Pompano Park, located in the northern part of Broward County. Isle has been fairly well insulated from competition as additional pari-mutuel casinos opened to its south – in Miami-Dade, Hialeah Park opened its casino last August and Casino Miami Jai-Alai opened in January 2012. When Dania opens its doors, the Pompano facility will likely feel the impact.


And now Asia casino giant Genting, unable to make headway with a destination gaming resort for property it owns on the Miami waterfront, has a new proposal for a stand-alone slot casino on that site. The company has joined forces with Gulfstream Park, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association and the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association for a casino with unique benefits for horse racing. The proposal relies on the belief that Gulfstream Park’s ownership has a valid permit in Miami-Dade county, giving it the right to operate a slot casino there. That is something subject to considerable debate, and most likely lawsuits, should the project proceed.


As the Florida legislature continues to debate the gambling issue, just how much is too much? The market has absorbed pari-mutuel casinos and several tribal casinos and continues to expand in total, but newer properties have taken their toll on older ones. After a banner year in 2011, Gulfstream, Mardi Gras, Calder and Flagler were all down in 2012 due in part due to the opening of the Casino at Miami Jai-Alai. Through November 2013 (final December results aren’t available yet), Gulfstream and Mardi Gras were down again. The following table summarizes net slot revenue at each facility (table will be updated through December when available):

 

 

  2012 % Change
from 2011

2013* % Change
from 2012*

Gulfstream $50,858,134 -7.6% $45,683,286 -1.4%
Mardi Gras 53,144,985 -4.3% 47,171,770 -3.0%
Isle at Pompano 121,683,766 5.2% 118,531,020 6.8%
Calder 72,418,250 -4.9% 67,970,010 2.4%
Flagler 76,820,883 -3.1% 70,991,839 0.7%
Miami Jai-Alai 52,963,182 n/a 59,200,359 22.7%
Hialeah

    16,968,677

n/a

Total 427,889,200 12.1% 426,516,961 9.1%

*2013 results are for 11 months; the percentage change compares to the comparable 11 months in 2012