Hialeah Park Reopens in Miami Hoping for Casino Action

The historic Hialeah Park Racing Track has reopened, and there are hopes they can add a casino in the future.

Hialeah Park reopened on November 28th as a quarter-horse racing facility, but the ultimate goal is to have a casino up and running at the track in the near future. Hialeah was a staple in the Miami community for years, but economic troubles forced the closure of the facility in 2001.

After all of the pari-mutuels in South Florida started pushing for expanded casino gambling at their facilities, legislators began to discuss the issue late in 2009. It was at this time that Hialeah owner John Brunetti Sr. decided the time was right to reopen.

The early returns have not been strong for Hialeah Park. The track will run forty live race cards, but business must improve if Hialeah is to survive. In December, both Hialeah and Gulfstream Park received bad news concerning a thoroughbred license they were seeking.

The Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering turned down their request, but it was more because of a technicality. Thoroughbred permits no longer exist in the state. The thoroughbred license would have allowed Gulfstream to expand their poker room hours to around the clock, instead of only twelve hours a day.

Hialeah and Gulfstream are both hoping that lawmakers will expand casino options for pari-mutuels in the state, but that may not happen for another several months. Legislators were not scheduled to return until next month for the spring session.

With lawmakers gaining knowledge of the casino gambling possibilities over the past couple of years, they have pretty much put their foot down regarding a compact that has been reached with the Seminole Indians. Instead of the compact, the lawmakers will consider expanding pari-mutuel casino options, giving the state a larger portion of the revenue than they would receive from the Seminole casinos.

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