The Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC) gave its conditional approval to the sale of the Magic City Casino’s gambling license to a Native American tribe based in Alabama, following a two-month delay and a renewed effort for what is considered the biggest casino deal in the history of the state.
The newly-announced decision will provide Miami’s Havenick family and its West Flagler Associates company with the chance to finalize the sale of its casino to PCI Gaming, which is owned and operated by Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Upon the completion of the deal, the Native American tribe will be able to operate slot machines, electronic casino games and poker in Miami.
Although the price of the acquisition deal was not disclosed, the attorney who represents both parties, John Lockwood, revealed to the Florida Gaming Control Commission that it will be paid in cash. According to estimates provided by some industry experts, the deal is valued at approximately $600 million.
As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, this will be the first change of ownership for the casino that was long known as “the Flagler Dog Track” and has been owned by the Havenick family for generations. As the CEO and President of Wind Creek Hospitality – Jay Dorris – revealed, the new owners have an ambitious plan for the venue. The inoperable dog track is shut but it could become home to a luxury casino and entertainment resort with its 30 acres of property. Mr Dorris welcomed the conditional approval of the local gambling regulatory body and described the takeover deal as “a fantastic opportunity” that would help an already successful business expand.
Magic City Casino Workers Would Be Retained by New Owners
For the time being, PCI Gaming intends to keep all employees of Magic City Casino, except for some senior executives who are planning to stay with West Flagler Associates. Apart from that, the operator will continue to control the rest of its gambling operations, including a permit to run summer jai-alai and poker games in a future operation in close proximity to the Edgewater neighborhood of Miami and the Bonita Springs Poker Room that is near Fort Myers. No immediate changes are planned for now.
The Florida Gaming Control Commission’s unanimous vote is considered one of the most important decisions that had to be made by the newly-formed entity, which was created by Florida lawmakers and started operating in 2022 as a regulatory body of the state’s gambling operations.
In December 2022 the gambling watchdog put the asset purchase agreement between PCI Gaming and West Florida Associations on hold and ordered the two companies to edit their 110-page application. Last month, the proposal was altered by PCI Gaming by substituting one subsidiary – Wind Creek Miami LLC – for another wholly-owned subsidiary – Gretna Racing LLC – as the principal organization to take over the full ownership and equity interest in the operating license of Magic City Casino. A card room license, a slot machine license and a parimutuel operating license for the fiscal year 2022/2023 are included in the agreement.