Florida gambling regulator announced a decision to postpone the planned transfer of the Magic City Casino’s operating license in Miami to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians for an indefinite period. The members of the Florida Gaming Control Commission said they would put the multi-million-dollar deal on hold until the two parties disclose more details to the public.
As CasinoGamesPro reported recently, Miami’s Havenick Family has entered into an asset takeover agreement with the Alabama-based Native American tribe through its West Flagler Associates company. However, in order for the deal to be finalized and the license allowing its holder to operate blackjack, slot machines and other casino games in Miami to be transferred, the parties need to receive official permission from the Florida Gaming Control Commission.
At their latest meeting that took place in Tallahassee on December 1st, the five commissioners agreed to postpone the proposed license transfer for an indefinite period because the companies submitted an application that excluded 103 pages of the 110-page agreement from public disclosure. As a result of thorough consideration of the materials, the state’s regulatory body revealed a decision to delay the casino license transfer until the two parties decide to disclose more information about the deal to the wider public.
John MacIver, who chairs the Florida Gaming Control Commission, noted that the five members of the regulator could not take any action as a collegial body without the public being able to provide meaningful input on the matter first. He also explained that, in his opinion, the public would not oppose much of the non-disclosed details of the deal if it has the chance to review them.
The Magic City Casino Currently Holds Three Different Gambling Licenses for the 2022/2023 Fiscal Year
Over the last year, Miami’s Havenick family has been seeking a buyer for the Magic City Casino, which has been owned by the family for generations. Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians tribe emerged as the higher bidder for the casino but the price of the deal was not unveiled.
As confirmed by John Lockwood, who legally represents both the owner of the Magic City Casino – West Flagler Associates – and the subsidiary of Wind Creek Hospitality that is to take over the property – Wind Creek Miami – the two parties had obtained financing by August 2022. At the time, Wind Creek Miami agreed to take over the full ownership and equity interest in the Magic City Casino, which currently holds a card room license, a lost machine license, and a parimutuel operating license for the 2022/2023 fiscal year.
The lawyer of the two companies criticized the gambling regulatory body’s decision, saying that the license transfer was categorized as a “basic ownership transfer” and such has already occurred with buyers who obtained the slot machine permits at the casinos in Hallandale Beach, Pompano Beach, and Dania Beach. He, however, confirmed that the two companies would work with the state’s gambling watchdog to provide the public with more details on the agreement and urged the watchdog to make a final decision on the matter soon.
For the time being, the CEO of Wind Creek Hospitality, Jay Dorris, shared that he was unable to comment on what are his company’s plans until after the Florida Gaming Control Commission approves the planned deal.