A major Las Vegas casino company announced Tuesday that it will partner with the Florida Panthers' parent company in an attempt to bring casino gambling to
"While additional Florida development is contingent on the state passing legislation, this agreement gives us an additional exciting option for Florida if and when it does," he said.
Sunrise Sports CEO Michael Yormark added, "When you think about premier locations in South Florida, we're sitting on one."
Yormark said the
"We're going to work with the city, the county and, obviously, the state Legislature," he said. "It's the first step in a long process. But we're confident we have the right plan and the right strategy."
Yormark noted the center also isn't as difficult to reach as one may think, because of the Sawgrass Expressway and Interstate 595. "From here to the airport, it's one stoplight," he said.
Details such as the size of the hotel and casino amenities would depend on what the Legislature would approve, but the 90-acre BankAtlantic Center property has plenty of room. It also would be the only casino in west
Currently, neither Boyd nor the Panthers have the legal right to offer gambling on or around the BankAtlantic Center. But legislators last year discussed approving large destination casinos in Florida, and Boyd could bid for one of three operating licenses.
Boyd also could attempt to transfer the pari-mutuel permit that it currently holds for Dania Jai-Alai. Either move will require legislative approval.
Smith said depending on the state's actions, Boyd could either sell or expand Dania Jai-Alai.
"If there are changes in the law, changes in tax rate, there may be more opportunities there," he said.
"The problem is, I just don't see the Legislature having the political will to move this issue forward," she said. "But this will force the debate to continue."
In the past year, experts in gambling law have successfully argued for all kinds of expansion, including another jai-alai permit inMiami-Dade County, virtual roulette and craps, and even rodeo-style barrel racing, which allowed one northwest Florida venue to open a poker room.
"Based on what's happened, with all the clever lawyering, I'd venture to say someone thinks they have a shot at moving the permit," Bogdanoff said. "But I don't know that for sure."
Daniel Adkins, president of
"I think these permits should be portable, and it's good even from the state's perspective," Adkins said. "If you can move it to a place to increase the revenue, it's good for the county, the state and the operator. I don't see a downside."
Major casino companies such as Genting and Las Vegas Sands are still pushing for the state to allow destination casinos. Currently, the state has a hodgepodge of
The Boyd-Sunrise partnership underscores how valuable gaming operators believe the Florida market to be.
Genting, which has spent about $500 million on property in
Lawmakers will be under pressure from many corners to look at gambling issues during the 2013 session. The Seminole Tribe of Florida is pushing the Legislature to renegotiate its compact with the state, which will allow them to continue to offer blackjack and other card games. Several conservative groups are pushing for lawmakers to pass a statewide ban on Internet cafes.
Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who will become House Speaker in 2013, said there "needs to be clarity and direction as to where Florida is going with gaming."