A Florida casino found favor in court and lost friends in the horseracing market. Calder Casino has been looking to drop horseracing in favor of Jai Ala. It seems it has everything ready to initiate the change.
However, the initiative hit some resistance from local groups, who made every effort to block the change in court. Unfortunately, their concerns were disregarded and the court decided that the casino is free to make the switch.
The dissatisfaction with the intended change does not originate from anti-gambling activism. Rather, it is Florida’s Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association together with Ocala Breeders Sales Company that went to court to block the change.
Based on the casino license, Calder is free to drop horseracing and take up profitable and popular activities that locals love such as Jai alai. This right, enshrined in the constitution, came about more than 10 years ago through an amendment in the constitution. Venues in Miami and Broward operating under a pari-mutuel license have the legal freedom to offer preferred slots.
The objection to the change was based on the fact that Calder’s license did not allow it to give up horseracing. However, the court looked at the issue differently and ruled that, contrary to the arguments presented by the appellants, no law requires a venue to maintain the same type of wagering that was responsible for qualifying it a slot machine operator’s license.
Of course, horseracing enthusiasts are not pleased, but the court pronounced itself and the decision is there to stay. The appellant has the right to appeal, but the challenge would have to be taken up to the Supreme Court.