An approval of slot machines at parimutuels in Miami-Dade and Broward counties could lead to those same slots being installed at the state’s Indian casinos.
Voters who approved allowing Miami-Dade and Broward to consider legalizing slot machines at parimutuels may end up getting more slots than they expected.
Allowing slots here would open the door for Florida’s Indian tribes to install slots at their seven casinos around the state, gaming experts say.
”The bottom line is that, whatever is offered in the state, has to be offered to the tribes,” said Shawn Personeau, spokesman for the National Indian Gaming Commission.
The approvals also would launch a $140 million construction spree at local racetracks, dog tracks and jai alai frontons aiming to inject some Las Vegas-style glitz into their aging operations. Rather than install slots in existing facilities, the parimutuels would build swank additions that include restaurants and other entertainment venues.
These so-called ”racinos” have thrived in the rest of the country. Since Rhode Island pioneered the racino 11 years ago, they have spread to nine other states. While racinos remain a tiny piece of the gaming industry, their revenues are growing faster than at other commercial and Indian casinos, according to a report by the Analysis Group.
That has meant jobs for racino communities. Since slots were approved at a track in Chester, W. Va., the track has added a 258-room hotel, convention center and conference center and spa in addition to slot machines and casino space. Employment at Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort has grown to about 1,700 from 342 since slots were approved.
NEW JOBS PROJECTED
Here, studies prepared for pro-slots groups say adding the machines would create 6,000 jobs and bring in $1.27 billion in revenue the first year, a boost that’s sorely needed.
”The horse and dog tracks have been in a long, protracted decline,” said Sebastian Sinclair, president of Christansen Capital Advisors, which studies the gaming industry. “This absolutely boosts tracks.”
It also could benefit the Indian tribes.
For years, the Seminoles have been asking the state for permission to go to Las Vegas style, or Class III, gaming for its six casinos, including the $280 million Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood and another in Coconut Creek, to no avail. The Miccosukees operate one casino, in western Miami-Dade.
The tribes currently have Class II gaming, which includes bingo, poker and electronic machines …