In a column in today’s South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Mike Mayo looks at the gambling industry in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties 10 years after the vote that allowed slot machines at existing pari-mutuels.
Remember how proponents of the campaign promised between $400 and $500 million per year to the state? Remember when they said that slot machines would spur large-scale developments at these locations?
The most striking quote from the column: “In the beginning, racino operators blamed their struggles on high tax rates and other hurdles (like a ridiculous ban on ATMs in casinos) imposed by a recalcitrant Legislature and then-Gov. Jeb Bush. But now the sluggish performance can only be blamed on too much competition and not enough disposable income in the pockets of players (mostly locals, with snowbirds and a few tourists thrown in).”
Mayo: Tallying Up Winners and Losers, 10 Years After Slots Vote
Slot machines arrived late and left early at Dania Jai Alai.
The casino closed its doors for at least a year Monday, just eight months after slots launched with much fanfare — and bombed. Around 300 people lost their jobs. In order to keep the fronton’s slots license alive, jai-alai matches will be played through year’s end on a walled-off, claustrophobic court.
The place now stands as a forlorn poster child for the overblown expectations, unrealized promises and uncertain future of gambling at South Florida’s pari-mutuels. Ten years after Florida voters authorized slot machines at South Florida frontons, dog and horse tracks, this wasn’t what anyone had in mind.
Read the entire column on the Sun-Sentinel website here