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Judge dismisses horse group’s challenge of Calder gambling permit

A Tallahassee administrative law judge has booted a Florida horsemen’s group challenge of a South Florida track’s gambling permit.

The reason: “Jurisdiction over the issuance of the summer jai alai permit being” contested is in appellate court, not the Division of Administrative Hearings, Judge E. Gary Early wrote

“Thus, there is nothing for (the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association) to attack.”

The case was against the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, which regulates gambling, and regarded Calder Casino‘s summer jai alai permit. The pari-mutuel previously went by the name Calder Race Course.

Early previously noted that the association’s “injury is based entirely on the issuance of the permit, and its effect on (the association) and the racing industry as a whole.”

The greyhound and horse industries have been at odds with racetrack operators, who continue trying to get rid of live racing but hold on to lucrative games like slots and poker.

Calder, which offers a limited race schedule, wants to ditch horse racing entirely to switch to jai alai games.

Another administrative law judge already has allowed Calder to keep its lucrative slot-machine license. The Miami Gardens track also offers electronic table games.

Tracks in Florida are generally required to continue running live dog or horse races to have slots and card games that usually make facilities more money.

Pari-mutuels, particularly in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, covet summer jai alai permits because at a minimum they allow a facility to open a card room and offer simulcast betting.

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Background provided by The News Service of Florida, republished with permission.

Main photo: Calder Casino — CC BY-SA 4.0.

Written By

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 jim@floridapolitics.com.

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