Jai alai permits spark yet another gambling fight

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Adding to the controversy about gambling in Florida, owners of the Mardi Gras Casino in Broward County have filed a lawsuit to try to block the possibility of two new jai-alai operations in South Florida. The lawsuit, filed Friday in Leon County, centers on an obscure law that allows the state to grant permits for what is known as “summer” jai alai. Mardi Gras is challenging the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s decision in October to grant such a permit to the owners of Magic City Casino in Miami. Also, the lawsuit names Everglades Jai Alai LLC, which proposed obtaining such a permit for jai alai in Broward. Mardi Gras contends, in part, that the law used by DBPR is unconstitutional. The law was first enacted in 1980 and applies only to Miami-Dade and Broward counties, according to the lawsuit. While jai alai’s popularity has dwindled, the permits could be valuable because they would allow the operation of cardrooms and possibly slot machines, according to a recent Miami Herald report. The lawsuit comes amid a series of controversial issues in the gambling industry, including legislative proposals to allow construction of up to three resort casinos and a legal fight about barrel racing at a pari-mutuel facility in Gretna.

Via The News Service of Florida.

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.