Florida City’s economy needs to rise and the residents of the city require more jobs. Constituting one of the ways of attempting to make Florida’s economy to flourish, gambling opportunities such as mutual betting are brought to the city through a casino, but there are other two important objectives to complete: horse racing will now be possible since a quarter horse racetrack is going to be built. An alternative to this could be making a fronton for practicing jai-alai. But, these two options could also be combined. Right now, there are initiatives to make this a real thing. According to what Mayor Otis Wallace has said, it is obviously better to use these initiatives that are meant to be a new source of revenue for Florida and cease the taxation of residents that has reached a point at which people become suffocated by taxes.
What Is the Exact Plan?
The first objective is the one related to getting a state permit for practicing one of the sports or both, and the following objective will be the casino. The place of the fronton and the quarter horse racetrack will be near the Florida Keys Outlet Center. You can imagine how many people (both city inhabitants and tourists) will be attracted by a casino that can allow you to play slots and poker just a little to the east of Florida’s Turnpike. Tourists are usually going from South Miami-Dade to Florida Keys. Despite all the legal limitations that have been recently applied to gambling for different states, the gambling industry continues to find ways to grow.
The Man Behind the Initiatives
The man who was the general counsel of Gulfstream Park and is now a gambling lawyer in Ocala is the one who is involved in these initiatives. Counties like Broward or Miami-Dade already have four casinos and other facilities that allow mutual betting and Florida City can be the next location to follow this path. The attorney’s name is David Romanik and he already tried to request allowance for a quarter horse racetrack in 2010, but the request was not accepted. Romanik intended to obtain permits for his company called Fort Myers Real Estate Holding to create the facility. As he failed, he wants to request allowance for another objective, which is the jai-alai fronton. David has stated that, no matter if he gets the permit or not, he will keep trying to do something with the respective property.
What Do Industry Professionals and City Officials Have to Say About This?
Professionals in the industry have a different opinion than Romanik. They think that none of the two types of facilities will bring any benefit to the economy of Florida City. Brian McGill, a gambling analyst from the company called Janney Capital Markets says that getting a license is just the step needed for opening a casino. What really matters is to know how to get the most revenue from slots and to increase costs for mutual betting.
The City Commission of Florida prepared the land this summer for the gambling industry. The owner of of the property belonging to Fort Myers Real Estate Holdings, who has bought two parts of land worth over six million dollars in 2010 and 2011, has asked the City Commission to modify zone classification for twenty five acres of land in order to use it for gambling. Mayor Otis Wallace stated he dislikes that online gambling is all around the city and he says he wants to manage the way these facilities are located. There is no intention to have any negative impact on gambling.
While David Romanik said that the value of the facility will be of around fifty million dollars once it is built, Mayor Otis Wallace spoke to the authorities about a number of seventy five to one hundred job opportunities in the casino and jai-alai fronton and thirty more for video games, which leads to an estimated total number of jobs between one hundred and fifty and two hundred. Romanik’s group has to obtain the permit and to ask for an approval of the site plan and this is what Wallace is waiting for. In the following months, Wallace expects to see a plan. Even if Romanik refused to talk about the plan last week, he is very sure that things will go well.
David stated that the place is ideal for gambling and that many tourists pass by every year: about two million individuals. Eve more, it is already known that those individuals enjoy activities like gambling in the area. There is an easier way to get a license for mutual betting and it involves partnering with a company that already has a permit that is not in use. There are sources indicating that more than five permits have been issued without being used after that. A good example can be the one of jai-alai permits being issued using a loophole in the gambling law from the eighties that Magic City Casino took advantage of. Such permits can be good for constructing a facility in any area from a specific county.
Isadore Havenick, who is the vice president of government affairs belonging to Magic City Casino declared that David talked to all individuals who could have had an unused permit. The vice president owns two licenses for jai-alai and there are some more licenses in Broward and Miami-Dade. It is not sure if Havenick will associate with Romanik in the near future. There are some other possible partners for Romanik, but he is still waiting to see how laws will evolve.
There is one big problem, because David will surely have to deal with opposition from various groups when he will want to obtain a quarter horse racetrack permit. On the other hand, David has a partner company called Gretna Racing which is also struggling to get a license from the state through groups like Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association. There is a fear among leaders of the horse racing industry that David intents to come with a similar business model in Florida City and this could have a negative impact on profits. Kent Stirling said that the impact on the industry could be disastrous.