Florida regulators have denied Bestbet’s request to install 2,000 slot machines at its Jacksonville facility, saying such a move is in violation of current state law.
Duval voters approved a referendum in November to authorize slot machines. That favorable vote came after Bestbet owners spent more than $2 million on a referendum campaign. In February, the company submitted an application to the state requesting a license for slots.
The Florida Times-Union reports the state sent a denial letter to Bestbet last week noting state law does not authorize slots in counties that approved a voter referendum unless the referendum itself was authorized by law or in the state Constitution. The letter additionally cited the Florida Constitution that only allows for slots referenda to occur in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Lastly, the letter noted that state law only allows slots in buildings that are “contiguous and connected to the live gaming facility.”
Bestbet Jacksonville operates only as a poker room based on an agreement with its sister facility in Orange Park, but no live racing occurs at the Jacksonville facility. A Bestbet spokesman said the company hopes new laws now under consideration in the State Legislature can resolve the issue.