FL Court rules that Calder can switch from horse races to Jai Alai and retain slot machines

Slot Machines Seduce, Then EntrapAn appellate court upheld a decision by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and said Calder Race Course could continue offering casino slot machines if it switched from horse racing to jai alai.

A state appeals court Wednesday (9/25/19) said Miami-Dade County’s Calder Race Course can continue operating slot machines if it discontinues horse racing and offers jai alai games instead.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a decision by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and rejected arguments by thoroughbred breeders and owners, who had appealed the agency’s decision.

The case was rooted, in part, in a 2004 constitutional amendment that allowed pari-mutuel facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to operate slot machines. Calder, which has run horse races for decades, obtained a permit to operate slot machines.

In 2018, Calder asked the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering whether it could continue to operate slot machines if it shifted from offering horse races to jai alai. The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association and Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co., Inc. opposed the proposal.

Wednesday’s ruling said Calder obtained its slot-machine license as what is known as an “eligible facility” under a section of state law…

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