Magic City may end dog rac­ing, add jai alai in ’18

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - Broward - - GAMBLING - By David Rater­man

Magic City Casino (450 NW 37th Ave., Mi­ami, 305-649-3000, Mag­icCi­tyCasino.com) re­cently re­ceived state reg­u­la­tors’ per­mis­sion to re­place its grey­hound rac­ing with jai alai. State law says casi­nos in Mi­ami-Dade and Broward coun­ties can op­er­ate only where a pari-mutuel ex­ists (ex­cept for casi­nos on In­dian reser­va­tions, which are reg­u­lated dif­fer­ently).

Fla­gler Dog Track at Magic City Casino was founded in1931. But in re­cent decades, at­ten­dance has dwin­dled. Jai alai at the Casino at Da­nia Beach (301 E. Da­nia Beach Blvd., 954-920-1511, Casin­oDa­ni­aBeach.com) and Casino Mi­ami (3500 NW 37th Ave., 305-633-6400, Casi­noMi­amiJaiAlai.com) has also dropped in pop­u­lar­ity since its glory days in the 1970s and 1980s. But a fron­ton takes up far less space than a dog track.

Get­ting per­mis­sion to close the track took a few years, says Scott Savin, who is COO at Magic City Casino and CEO at the Casino at Da­nia Beach.

Ac­cord­ing to Savin, reg­u­la­tors fi­nally said, “You can switch from dog rac­ing to jai alai as long as you play 150 jai alai per­for­mances a year.” He de­fines a per­for­mance as one day.

“So we can drop one parimutuel ac­tiv­ity for the other.”

But the change is not cer­tain.

“Our dog rac­ing is still to Oc­to­ber, then we race dogs again in June of 2018,” Savin says. “So we have plenty of time to in­ves­ti­gate the switch to jai alai, which would hap­pen in the mid­dle of 2018. We’re look­ing into what kind of fron­ton we would have here.”

One pos­si­bil­ity is build­ing it at Stage 305, where Magic City hosts live per­for­mances.

“We’re l ook­ing i nto play­ing jai alai and host­ing con­certs and spe­cial events in 305,” he says. “We’re en­gag­ing engi­neers to look into it.”

As for the dog track, Savin en­vi­sions the land be­ing used for other forms of en­ter­tain­ment. Stage 305 is rel­a­tively small.

“Right now, we’re con­stricted be­cause we can’t bring in some of the big­ger acts,” he says

Go, Fish

There’s still time to sign

This week’s casino pro­mo­tions

Through­out Au­gust, the poker room at Palm Beach Ken­nel Club (1111 N. Congress Ave., West Palm Beach, 561-683-2222, PBKen­nelClub.com) has high hands ev­ery 20 min­utes from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. From Sun­days to Thurs­days, the first two win­ners each hour take home $200, and the third win­ner gets $400. On Fri­days and Satur­days, the amounts are dou­bled. Satur­day is the ken­nel club’s Play­ers’ Cham­pi­onship. There’s a $280 buy-in with $250,000 up for grabs. The tour­na­ment opens at 12:15 p.m. Mardi Gras Casino (831 N. Fed­eral High­way, Hal­lan­dale Beach, 954-924-3200, MardiGrasCasi­noFL.com) has a Sum­mer Se­ries Slot Tour­na­ment from 3 to 9 p.m. Thurs­days. You’re el­i­gi­ble to play af­ter earn­ing 25 points on your player’s card. The prize is $2,500 in cash and a spot in the $5,000 Grand Fi­nale Tour­na­ment on Sept. 21. Semi­nole Casino Co­conut Creek (5550 NW 40th St., 954-977-6700, Casi­noCoco.com) is giv­ing up for Mon­day’s Jeff Co­nine Celebrity Poker Clas­sic at Semi­nole HardRock­Ho­tel and Casino (1 Semi­nole Way, Hol­ly­wood, 800- 937- 0010, Semi­noleHardRock­Hol­ly­wood.com). Hosted by the re­tired Mar­lins player, all pro­ceeds will go to the non­profit Co­nine Club­house at the Joe DiMag­gio Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Hol­ly­wood.

Co­nine will play. So far, other celebri­ties plan­ning to ap­pear are New York Gi­ants player Mathias Ki­wanuka and the Florida Pan­thers’ Shawn Thorn­ton, Bill Lind­say and Randy Moller, says Stu Op­per­man, spokesman for the Joe DiMag­gio Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal Foun­da­tion. ESPN’s Dave La­Mont will em­cee.

We have a win­ner

On Mon­day, Daryl Jace won $142,173 in the Main Event of the Florida State Poker Cham­pi­onship at Isle Casino Pom­pano Park (777 Isle of Capri Cir­cle, Pom­pano Beach, 954-972-2000, TheIslePom­panoPark.com). The Mas­sachusetts res­i­dent de­feated 537 en­trants. Run­ner-up was Boca Ra­ton’s Sam Mayer-Backer, who walked with $99,666. away Sephora gift cards from 1 to 8 p.m. Fri­day. To re­ceive a $15 gift card, earn at least 10 comp dol­lars on your Semi­nole Wild Card, start­ing at 7 a.m. On Mon­day from noon to 8 p.m., guests can win shares of $85,000 in free play. Ev­ery half-hour, five peo­ple will win $1,000 in free play. To be el­i­gi­ble, insert your card into any slot ma­chine to re­ceive an en­try into the draw­ings, and you get an­other en­try for ev­ery comp dol­lar earned from now un­til then.

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