lagler plans to open its us$ 54 million Magic City Casino in October, making it the first of Miami-Dade's new “racinos” - parimutuel facilities that also offer slots. Florida voters in 2004 approved a state constitutional amendment that paved the way for slots at horse tracks, dog tracks, and jai-alai frontons in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Three racinos are already up and running in Broward.
Flagler President/CEO Barbara Hecht Havenick, whose family has operated Flagler Dog Track for generations, shed a few tears just before the first batch of slots were unloaded Wednesday. Havenick's late husband Fred was one of the organizers of the push to bring slots to South Florida parimutuels. He died in 2006. “My husband started this in 1978; it's been a long time coming,'' Havenick said. "He really worked very hard for this, and he would have loved to see it.''
Once off the delivery truck, Wednesday's shipment of 106 slot machines - Flagler will have 700 by the time it opens - traveled one-by-one to the casino floor. State regulators there double-checked the serial numbers on each before giving the OK for the machines to be installed.
The casino floor, about 80 % complete, is a bright array of yellow-and-orange walls with a nearby blue bar that boasts a flowing, wave-like design. “Miami is a vibrant city,'' said Flagler Vice President Isadore Havenick. "We wanted vibrant colors so people know they're in Miami.''
In addition to Flagler, another Miami-Dade racino is under construction at Calder Race Course - just down the street from LandShark stadium. Calder's 9661 sqm, us$ 85 million slots casino is scheduled to open in late January, with the first shipment of slots set to arrive in November.