Despite its growing slot machine expansion crisis, the State of Florida has awarded Gulfstream Park a license to conduct two (2) Quarter Horse races on December 31, 2011 and January 1, 2012, thus meeting the two-year statutory requirement to install 2,000 slot machines without legislative authority or local referendum.
“In fact, we met with high ranking Gulfstream officials for three hours on Thursday afternoon (12/22). During that meeting, the horsemen were asked for our ‘permission’ for Gulfstream to run a Quarter Horse race on December 31, and another race on January 1, 2012. At no point during that meeting were we informed that Gulfstream’s Quarter Horse racing license had already been signed, sealed and delivered.” Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association President Phil Combest emphasized. “And the result was that the open partnership we’ve all worked so hard to build was inexplicably compromised as the horsemen were left to independently discover that another potential Gretna pari-mutuel barrel racing slot expansion was in the offing”
Gulfstream is already authorized for 2,000 slot machines under its existing Thoroughbred permit. Now, it would be free to install an additional 2,000 machines, for a total of 4,000 slot machines.
Presently, the track operates 860 machines that only earned a daily average “drop” of $151 each during the beginning of this fiscal year. By industry standards, this is considered to be poor performance.
Gulfstream’s new license, # 536, was approved on December 19, 2011 by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering under the track’s Quarter Horse pari-mutuel racing permit, which it has held for years, but not activated.