The owners of one of the oldest gambling operations in the state of Florida are set to sell the Miami-based Magic City Casino to a Native American tribe based in Alabama. The price of the deal has not been disclosed so far but the operator is expected to address the competent state authorities and ask them to transfer its attractive gambling license to the new owners.
Once the transfer of the aforementioned casino gambling permit from the Havenick Family to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is carried out, the Native American tribe would be officially allowed to operate the Magic City Casino in Miami. The tribe would also be permitted to retain control of the greyhound permit of the casino, which was first issued by Florida officials at the time when racing became legal in the state in 1931.
Although greyhound racing is now officially suspended in the state, the operating license remains intact, and for 18 years, has been considered the main reason why Magic City and other casino venues in Florida were legally allowed to operate slot machines.
The decision regarding the potential approval of the operating license transfer is set to become the highest profile issue to be considered by the newly-constituted Florida Gaming Control Commission which has its meeting scheduled for December 1st in Tallahassee. Experts believe that the way the proposed acquisition deal is handled by the newly-established regulatory body will test the level of scrutiny and deliberation that will be given to such valuable transactions by the five-member watchdog panel.
Wind Creek Tribe to Take Over Slot Machine, Cardroom and Parimutuel Operating Permit
According to an application that the Florida Gaming Control Commission filed in October, West Flagler Associates which is currently controlled by the Havenick family inked an asset purchase agreement with the Poarch tribe’s subsidiary Wind Creek Miami. Under the agreement, the Native American tribe is set to acquire 100% equity and an ownership interest in the permit.
The application states that Wind Creek is set to take over a cardroom license, a slot machine license, and a parimutuel operating license for the 2022/2023 fiscal year.
The agency staff tabled a memo to the Florida casino regulator, recommending the approval of the transfer deal. However, the wider public has been pretty much left in the dark about some major details of the deal. As mentioned above, none of the details or terms of the agreement, including the financial ones, have been disclosed, and it currently remains unclear whether there are any other partners in the financing or not.
The casino regulator of the state of Florida has been urged by the president of the anti-casino advocacy group No Casinos, John Sowinski, to provide the public with more time before it votes on the agreement that, in his opinion, has left a lot of questions unanswered.
Sowinski noted that the Gaming Control Commission had been established with the promise to provide greater transparency in gambling policy-making, regulation and enforcement. That is why he believes that the terms of the deal and the agenda of the operating license’s transfer should be fully disclosed. He also said that the decision of the Commission should be postponed so that the public has enough time to take the matter into consideration.