Miami City Leaders Moving to Ban New Gaming Establishments

Written By JR Duren on November 3, 2021

With the launch of sports betting in Florida, you’d think the state was opening the gambling flood gates. Well, not so in Miami.

This past week, the Miami City Commission moved to ban new gambling facilities within city limits. The move wouldn’t affect any current cardrooms in Miami, including Casino Miami and Magic City Casino.

However, the commission “moved” to enact the ban, meaning they’ll bring the matter to an official vote at a later date.

Miami gaming ban in effect unless state constitution changes

The new ban, which has been in the works for a while, is relatively straightforward.

It’s an adjustment to the existing city zoning code. The ban would remain in place unless there is a constitutional amendment that would allow casino-style gambling throughout the state.

The existing zoning code allows gambling facilities to be built, provided the city commission approves the new construction by a four-fifths vote. Should the city commission vote to pass the ban, it would require a four-fifths vote to amend the change in the future.

Miami unites with Miami Beach in anti-gambling stance

Should the Miami city commissioners vote to change the zoning code, Miami would be ban brothers would Miami Beach.

Miami Beach mayor Dan Gelber has been outspoken against casinos of any kind, including the gaming facilities that former President Donald Trump and billionaire Jeffrey Soffer have expressed interest in building in the Miami Beach and Miami areas.

Gelber said earlier this year:

“Two things about casino gambling: Number one, it’s horrible for a community…there’s no city in America that has casinos that we want to be,” Gelber told CBS Miami earlier this year. “And number two, it makes an enormous amount of money for very few people who tend to green the legislature with lots of money to get lots of attention.”

Proposed ban comes after battle with Magic City

The city commission’s move to ban new gambling facilities comes after an acrimonious battle with Magic City Casino.

In 2018, city commissioners voted to change zoning laws to require a four-fifths vote to approve a new gambling facility. Before that vote took place, Magic City Casino had obtained its permit from the state’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering. It could move forward with its development based on the code in place when it obtained its permit.

However, the city commission held Magic City to the new standard, bringing the development to a halt and kicking off the legal battle played out.

The two parties came to a settlement earlier this year, bringing an end to the siege.

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JR Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey gambling beats for Catena Media. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun. Duren is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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