State agency blocks Genting-Gulfstream deal

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Florida regulators denied the request by gambling giant Genting that would “decouple” a non-profit pari-mutuel permit held by Gulfstream Park racetrack and allow the creation of a stand-alone casino in downtown Miami site.

On Friday, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation denied a request by Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred After-Racing Program, or GPTARP.

The agency decided the permit was only for use in Broward County and cannot be transferred to a separate place in Miami-Dade County.

The permit was the key element in a deal between Gulfstream and Resorts World, part of the Malaysia-based Genting Group, joined by breeders and thoroughbred owners and trainers, to start a new hotel/casino at a Genting-owned Miami bayfront property. Genting purchased the site in 2011 for $236 million.

In the agreement, Resorts World would use the GPTARP document to operate up to 2,000 slot machines at the Miami site while races remain at Gulfstream Park.

Critics claimed the deal essentially “decouples” racing from the highly profitable slot machines, poker and other gambling that is allowed onsite by pari-mutuel permits.

Resorts World is also lobbying lawmakers heavily to pass a measure approving the contract during the 2014 legislative session.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.