South Florida’s Calder Race Course will no longer be allowed to offer slot machines. The Calder racetrack slots licensed was recently revoked by a judge.
The state’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering renewed Calder’s slots license after the grandstand was razed in 2016. The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association challenged the license on grounds that no racing was being offered.
What Does Florida Law Say About the Calder Racetrack Slots?
State law calls for facilities with slot machines to be “contiguous and connected to the gaming facility.”
Calder added slots in 2010. The area where gamblers played slots was originally connected to the live gaming venue.
The business razed their grandstand in 2016, thus potentially putting them in violation of the law. Only a partially covered sidewalk connected the slots casino to the live racing section afterward.
Judge John Van Laningham wrote about the matter in a 57-page ruling.
“Taken together, ‘contiguous and connected’ clearly do not mean merely proximate, abutting, adjoining, or adjacent, but conjoined, integrated, and united for a common purpose,”
He continued by writing the following about laws regarding live gaming and slots proximity.
“[This situation] reflects a careful balancing of the potentially competing interests between preserving historical pari-mutuel operations and promoting newly permitted slot machine gaming.
“[Gambling regulators] upset that balance, undemocratically and nontransparently, by tilting the scales in favor of the slots via nonpublic statutory interpretations communicated. Not officially through proposed rules or formal declaratory statements, but privately to Pompano Park and Calder.”
Florida Pari-Mutuel Facilities Trying to Survive
The Calder racetrack slots decision is a blow to pari-mutuel interests. The latter have been using slot machines to stay afloat in recent years.
Horse racing is no longer the same draw that it was in years’ past. Racetracks now bank on racing to bring in additional revenue.
Most racetracks in Florida and the rest of the US don’t earn much money money from racing. Many tracks have turned into racinos to remain operational.