Magic City Casino owners, the Havenick family, are selling one of the oldest Miami-based casinos to an Alabama-based Indian tribe, the Poarch Band Creek Indians, for an undisclosed price. On Thursday, December 1st, the family will query the state to pass on its attractive gambling license to the new owners.
Once the transfer is approved and completed, in addition to having license to operate the casino as the new owners, the tribe will also receive a greyhound license, which was issued back in 1931 when greyhound racing became legal in Florida.
Despite the fact that greyhound racing is now illegal in the state, the license is still valid and since 2004 has been the main thing that has permited Magic City and other casinos in South Florida to legally operate slot machines.
License transfer authorization:
The decision to potentially approve the transfer of the license is expected to become the top item on the mind of the newly-formed Florida Gaming Control Commission, which is scheduled to meet on Thursday, December 1st in Tallahassee.
Analysts believe how the proposed purchase agreement is handled will test the level of scrutiny and vigilance Florida’s five-member regulator will give to such important transactions.
Wind Creek takes control of Parimutuel, slot machines and cardroom license:
Last month, the Florida Gaming Control Commission filed an application in which West Flagler Associates, currently managed by the Havenick family, signed a purchase agreement with the Poarch Tribe’s Wind Creek Miami affiliate.
The application states: “Because it is acquiring the permit, Wind Creek will also acquire a parimutuel operating license, cardroom license and the slot machine license for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.”
Under the agreement, the Wind Creek Tribe will receive a cardroom license, a slot machine license and a parimutuel operating license for 2022/2023.
Agency staff sent a memo to Florida’s regulatory authority, suggesting approval of the transfer agreement. However, the general public has remained more or less in the dark about some very important details of the agreement, such as the financial ones and it is not yet known if there are other financial partners.
John Sowinski, president of No Casinos, also known as an anti-casino advocacy group, is pushing Florida’s regulator to give the public more time before officially voting on the deal.
He said: “My view on the agreement is that it left a lot of questions unanswered. The Gaming Control Commision was created with the promise of greater transparency and public view into the world of gambling policy making, regulation and enforcement. In that spirit, this agenda item should be fully disclosed and should be postponed until the public has time to see what’s going on and the gaming commission can make a decision with the benefit of public input.”
Owner of 10 gaming establishments:
In 2019, Wind Creek Hospitality completed its $1.3 billion acquisition of Sands Casino resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and now has 10 gaming properties.