Hialeah contributed 8% of the NSR to the state

Oct 8, 2013 3:00 AM

August is normally a nasty month with seasoned Floridians searching the Atlantic for hurricane development. No such monster appeared in August, or even now. However, a surprisingly upbeat tempest hit – area RACINOS.

August business was gangbusters for both operators and the state. Net Slot Revenue (NSR) was up 21.6%, almost $7 million and the tax derived increased by over $2.4 million.

The addition of Hialeah Park Casino was key, but ALL racinos experienced gains. Also, South Florida’s long moribund economy grew 3.5% in 2012, and continues to improve. Home prices finally rebounded. And, tourism is nudging pre-recession capacities.

Hialeah, open only 18 days in August, contributed 8% of the NSR to the state, over $3.1 million, which projects out to $5 million-plus per month.

Though not published, the tribal gaming revenues tend to be in lockstep with the racinos. The Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa continues to be the Indian star performer.

Adding Hialeah Casino to Miami-Dade County totals resulted in the four county racinos providing 54.9% of the state’s NSR. With three racinos currently in Broward County it’s doubtful the northern county will equal Miami-Dade even when Dania Jai Alai comes on board this winter. Broward already competes with two mega tribal casino complexes.

Why is this information important? Because Miami-Dade has been the focal point for the destination resort casino operators viewing expansion. The legislature will need to weigh that disparity before authorizing any new facilities.

While the Miccosukee Tribe has a successful bingo hall, poker room and casino in far southwestern Miami-Dade County, it is quite some distance from all racinos.

The increases for the individual racinos is led, as usual, by Isle at Pompano with over $1.28 million more than the previous year NSR; but in percentage gain it was Casino Miami Jai Alai, up a healthy 14.7%. Pompano was close behind at 14.6% and Magic City (Flagler) rounded out the top three, up 12.1%. Gulfstream Park Casino at 10.2%, Calder Race Course Casino at 8.2% and Mardi Gras (Hollywood) at 8.1% were the others all enjoying healthy gains.

Miami-Dade racinos currently have 3,947 slot machines operating for an average of $202 per slot. Magic City leads all Miami-Dade facilities with a very respectable $275 average per slot. Broward houses 3,330 slot machines and averages $162 per slot. Isle at Pompano leads with $220 per slot.

Part 2 of the state funded Spectrum Report on Expanded Gaming in Florida was released Oct. 1, and the voluminous 400-plus page report has the gaming industry up in arms because it indicates expansion would have minimal impact on the state’s economy.

We will follow the story closely as it proceeds. Public hearings start in late October for legislative committees to collect opinions from interested parties. They will occur in four locations throughout the state with the first in Fort Lauderdale.

Odds n’ ends: The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering is holding rules and regulations workshops around the state.

Trial in Seminole County (east Orlando) Florida begins for Kelly Mathis, attorney of record for “Allied Veterans of the World” – the bogus Internet café operator facing charges for dozens of felonies. Other “execs” of the organization accepted a plea deal. Mathis’ outcome may well determine the legality and viability of the resurgent Internet cafés around the state.

Dania Jai Alai closed its poker room and sports bar on Sept. 23 to make way for a major renovation, including the long awaited slot parlor due to open this winter.

Inside sources indicate Genting will continue with its gambling ship and Bimini Resorts World casino in the short term, and not force the issue of their destination casino in downtown Miami at this year’s Florida legislature.

Baird Thompson and William Hutchinson bring a combined 80 years of gaming marketing and administration experience to Gaming Today. Contact them at [email protected].

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