Greyhound group asks state to reverse decoupling decision

As promised, the Florida Greyhound Association is asking state gambling regulators to “reconsider” their decision to allow Miami’s Magic City Casino to discontinue live dog racing.

The association filed a “motion to intervene” Tuesday.

Ending racing there “will put (its) members … out of business,” the motion says. “The purpose … is to forever end greyhound racing at the track. Many members are family owned businesses that have raced greyhounds at the race track for generations.”

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which regulates gambling through its Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, last month approved a request from the Havenick family to drop dog racing at its Miami facility in a first-of-its-kind ruling.

The motion, drafted by former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, the association’s general counsel, says the state incorrectly allowed the track and casino to convert its gambling license to a summer jai alai permit, which allows it to stop racing but keep offering lucrative slot machine play.

Usually, pari-mutuels in Florida are required to continue running live dog or horse races to have slots and card games that make those facilities more money. A move afoot called “decoupling,” removing the live racing requirement, has failed in the Legislature in recent years, including this past session.

“There appears to be no showing that (Magic City) meets the statutory qualifications to convert their permit to summer jai alai … since (it) is now the only greyhound race track operating in Miami,” it says.

Moreover, “it cannot be said that the Legislature intended to allow for the conversion of a pari-mutuel permit to a summer jai alai permit at a facility that operates slot machines,” the motion adds.

Statewide voters in 2004 approved a constitutional amendment legalizing slots at existing jai-alai frontons and horse and dog racetracks only in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and only if voters there OK’d it in referendums. The caveat was that tracks had to continue racing dogs or horses.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • James blanchard

    August 1, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    No decoupling!

  • Ramon

    August 1, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Couldn’t you use a picture of a greyhound running on an actual track surface and not of whippet running on grass with a European racing muzzle, also the info is not correct, it was not a de-coupling issue at Flagler but a change from Greyhound racing to JAI-ALAI. Just wondering who passed on this bad information?

  • Daniel Adkins

    August 1, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    There was no “caveat” in the constitutional amendment that required the continuance of racing, that was a product of the implementing legislation. Just to be clear on that point.

    • kurt weisman

      August 2, 2017 at 4:54 pm

      are you a lawyer schooled in constitutional law?
      or a race track employee?


    August 2, 2017 at 9:54 am

    REMEMBER WHO SAID THIS: Ending racing at 1 facility will put them out of business?????? REALLY!!!! That’s the perfect line for going forward with decoupling and ending the racing all together. It goes to show that the racing industry is on it’s last leg (no pun) and it is just a matter of a short time before it completely dies out. Thank you for filing this Motion….

    Dogs are being drugged, killed and abused in this industry for the cost of “family members” to make a few bucks. They are also sucking money out of the casino to fund the racing purses because it’s a loser.

    • robert simpson

      August 2, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      sucking money out of casino to fund racing?do you know how it works?people most who CAN’T afford to lose there MONEY enter a casino/ the end of the day or within hour or two the casino has taken ALL of there happens over and over again hour after hour day by owners know this and laugh all the way to the if you think casino/slots are the holy grail
      ONLY to the casino owners
      it Is a killer to our society .

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn