Slot Machine Backers Say Vote Win Would Bring Development
By April M. Havens
The slot machine proponents behind the Yes for a Greater Miami-Dade campaign — Calder Race Course and Flagler Sports and Entertainment Center — say development is certain if voters approve Las Vegas-style slot machines Jan. 29, but development may come regardless of the election’s outcome.
Calder Race Course President C. Kenneth Dunn said since Calder is owned by a publicly-traded company, it "makes some sense" to look at the course’s 220 acres for future developments.
Currently, Mr. Dunn said, the property is successful with its primary income through thoroughbred racing, but the Churchill Downs-owned company is not counting out other options.
"There are development opportunities, but no decisions have been made as to development or no development," he said.
If voters approve slots in January, Mr. Dunn said development of a facility to house the slots would follow.
"Our position now is that we are going to build something competitive with the marketplace, but there are no plans or designs yet," he said.
Calder prefers to focus less on future development plans for now, though. "Our focus in on winning the slots referendum," Mr. Dunn said. "We have time to plan what will be built."
Isadore Havenick, vice president of Flagler Sports and Entertainment Center, said if slot machines are approved, several large developments would spring up on the 35- and 37-acre properties surrounding the family’s dog racing track.
Developments would include restaurants, bars and a 4,000-seat amphitheater that would feature acts such as Motown bands, 1960s and ’70s rock bands and Latin groups, he said.
President Barbara Havenick said the goal would be to turn Flagler into an "entire entertainment destination."
These developments, which the Havenick family would pursue on their own with no partners, will only come if voters approve slots, Mr. Havenick said.
The Flagler Sports and Entertainment Center, he said, has not planned what would happen if the referendum loses in January.
"We haven’t thought that far," he said, "because we don’t want to think about losing."