High stakes: Miami household plans to promote Magic City Casino to Native American tribe


The Havenick household’s Magic City Casino plans to promote the on line casino to the Alabama-based Poarch tribe, and is asking the state to approve the switch of its playing allow.


The house owners of one of many longest-running playing operations in Florida are promoting Magic City Casino in Miami to an Alabama-based Native American tribe for an undisclosed worth and on Thursday will ask the state to switch its profitable playing allow.

The switch of the playing allow from Miami’s Havenick household to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians would enable the tribe to personal and function Magic City Casino and retain management of the on line casino’s greyhound allow, which was first issued by the state in 1931 when racing was first legalized in Florida. Although greyhound racing is now banned within the state, the allow stays in pressure and, since 2004, has been the ticket that has allowed Magic City and different South Florida casinos to legally function slot machines.

The resolution whether or not to approve the switch would be the highest profile subject but to go earlier than the newly-constituted Florida Gaming Control Commission, which is scheduled to satisfy Thursday in Tallahassee. How the brand new fee handles the proposed deal will take a look at how a lot scrutiny and deliberation the five-member panel will give high-dollar transactions.

According to an utility submitted to the fee final month, West Flagler Associates, managed by the Havenick household, entered into an asset buy settlement with Wind Creek Miami, LLC, a subsidiary of the Poarch tribe, to accumulate 100% possession curiosity and fairness curiosity within the allow.

According to a memo to the fee, the company’s workers recommends approval of the switch. However, greater than 100 pages within the utility posted on the commission’s web site have been fully redacted, leaving the general public in the dead of night about key particulars of the settlement. For instance, the doc signifies the deal entails financing, however not one of the particulars or phrases are disclosed, and it’s unclear if there are another companions within the financing.

“Because it is acquiring the permit, Wind Creek will also acquire a parimutuel operating license, cardroom license, and the slot machine license for the 2022-2023 fiscal year,’’ the application states.

John Sowinski, president of No Casinos, an anti-casino advocacy group, is urging the commission to give the public more time before it votes on what he believes is likely a multi-million-dollar agreement that has left many questions unanswered.

“The Gaming Control Commission was created with the promise of greater transparency and public view into the world of gambling policy making, regulation and enforcement,’’ Sowinski said. “In that spirit, this agenda item should be fully disclosed and should be postponed until the public has time to see what’s going on and the gaming commission can make a decision with the benefit of public input.”

The Havenick household’s different playing operations, which embody a allow to function summer time jai alai and poker in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood and the Bonita Springs Poker Room close to Fort Myers, will stay within the household’s management.

Wind Creek Miami, LLC is a subsidiary of the tribe’s principal gaming and hospitality entity, referred to as the PCI Gaming Authority. That entity holds two playing permits in North Florida, a greyhound allow and a cardroom in Pensacola, and a barrel racing observe and poker site in Gretna. For greater than a decade, the Poarch tribe has expanded its playing footprint throughout the U.S. and now has 10 gaming operations. In 2019, for instance, Wind Creek Hospitality purchased a resort casino from Las Vegas Sands for $1.3 billion


Earns Las Vegas Sands NYBZ157.JPG
In this May 22, 2009 file picture, Vito Valentinetti reacts along with his spouse Mary Ann after a win whereas taking part in a slot machine on the Sands Casino Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Sands offered that on line casino to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama and North Florida in 2019. RICK SMITH AP

In addition to these properties, the corporate runs playing operations in Atmore, Montgomery and Wetumpka in Alabama, the Renaissance Aruba and Renaissance Curacao, and the Mobile Greyhound Track in Alabama.

Neither the Poarch tribe nor the Havenicks would reply to requests for remark.

According to the fee, the applying was submitted Oct. 6 and state regulation requires that after the applying is full it’s adopted by a 90-day evaluate interval.

It can also be unknown whether or not the proposed deal will affect whether or not West Flagler Associates continues to pursue the lawsuit that invalidated the playing settlement between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

The firm was one of many plaintiffs within the lawsuit that led to the court docket’s rejection of the deal, referred to as a gaming compact, that might have given the Seminole Tribe a monopoly on sports activities betting in Florida. A federal district court docket choose within the District of Columbia dominated final December that the compact violates federal Indian gaming regulation and thereby halted all sports activities betting and gaming enlargement in Florida indefinitely. The ruling is now beneath enchantment.

Mary Ellen Klas will be reached at [email protected] and @MaryEllenKlas

Mary Ellen Klas is the state Capitol bureau chief for the Miami Herald, the place she covers authorities and politics and focuses on investigative and accountability reporting. In 2018-19, Mary Ellen was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Please assist our work with a digital subscription. Sign up for Mary Ellen’s publication Politics and Policy within the Sunshine State. You can attain her at [email protected] and on Twitter @MaryEllenKlas.
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