Magic City Casino Picks Fight With Miami-Dade, Marlins and Miccosukee Tribe
Ever notice that sign for the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians on Marlins Park? Well, the management of Magic City Casino sure has, and they are not happy with it. The casino believes that it violates a contract it has with the county that forbids Miami-Dade from harming their slot revenue, and they'd very much like to see the sign taken down. Basically, it's a big mess involving two separate municipal governments and two separate slot machine operators with a mediocre ball team stuck in the middle.
Magic City Casino, formerly the Flagler Dog Track, struck a deal with the county back in 2008. The county would allow the casino to operate slot machines. In return the county would get a cut of the profits, and promised to not harm their revenues or promote other slot machine operators.
The Miccosukee Tribe, of course, operates its own gaming resort in the western edges of the county, and Magic City Casino believes that allowing the tribe, their direct competitors, to buy such prominent advertising on the park violates that agreement.
According to The Miami Herald, the casino has hired power lobbyist Ron Book to deal with the issue. He brought it up to the county commission in May, but so far nothing has been done.
It's a complicated issue for a few reasons. While the county owns the park, the Marlins are responsible for selling advertising. The sign also just includes the word "Miccosukee" along with the tribe's logo, and makes no mention of their gaming resort. It's also unclear whether that agreement would really forbid the county from selling any form of advertising to competitors.
Under the original deal between the casino and Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami, the casino agreed to give the county and city between 1 1/4 percent and 2 percent of gross slot machine revenues over the next 30 years. Of course, the casino may just be playing hard ball more so than the Marlins. There was some rumbling from City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones earlier this year to renegotiate the agreement with the casino to get a bigger slice of the pie for the city.
Isadore Havenick, the casino's vice president of political affairs and a member of the casino's owning family, even admits that she had no problem with the sign until Spence-Jones urged for a new deal.
So now county administrators are dealing with the fallout of the actions of a City of MIami commissioner because the operators of a city-owned building sold advertising to an Indian tribe that also happens to operate a casino.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.