Everyday gamblers likely haven’t seen much of a difference since Genting took over operations of Gulfstream Park casino in Hallandale Beach — but that’s because the company’s executives are still evaluating what they have.
Genting, which bought the Miami Herald building in 2011 with hopes of opening a waterfront resort-hotel casino, confirmed last week that it has entered into a consulting agreement for the casino portion of Gulfstream Park.
South Florida is still a growing casino market, with voters having approved slots a little more than a decade ago for Miami-Dade and Broward counties. And the Seminole Tribe casinos, while in place for a few years longer, didn’t experience major growth until a 2010 agreement with the state brought them blackjack.
So Genting is kind of looking at a clean state. Here’s their situation:
Advantages: Genting is a proven casino operator, with casino people running it. (Most casinos here began as horse tracks, dog tracks or jai alai frontons, with slots and poker later added to help their dying businesses.) Genting also has a worldwide database of more than 6 million players, and extolling the virtues of casino action in South Florida — with adjoining horse racing and a mall — is likely a pretty easy sell.
Disadvantages: Since Genting announced plans in 2011 to build a glitzy casino on waterfront property in Miami — and released futuristic images that rattled city leaders and state legislators — their name works against them. The company, perhaps unfairly, is perceived as an intruder. Their more immediate challenge at Gulfstream, though, is determining what to do with the slots property itself. Machines are located on two floors, and getting from the first story to the second is difficult. Do they knock everything down or just live with it?
▪ Hialeah Park has one of its frequent “Super High Hand” days Thursday, Dec. 22. That means the best Texas Hold ’em during a 10-minute period wins $400 from 1 p.m. to midnight.
▪ Look for the poker room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to be packed Friday night. The card room has $1,000 high hands, with rollovers, from 2 p.m. to midnight.
▪ Magic City Casino has “Weekly Draw Down” at 2 and 11 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Poker players have a long-shot chance at winning $25,000: A dealer turns over a card, then awards the player $100 if the next card is lower than the first. The prize goes to $200, then $400 for the next card, and if a player wins a fourth round, the $25,000 is paid out.
▪ Miccosukee Resort & Gaming has a free “Crazy Pineapple” tournament at 7 p.m. Mondays. For those who haven’t played, “Crazy Pineapple” is like Texas Hold ’em, except players are dealt three cards before the flop and must discard one after the flop.
▪ Rare Earth (“Get Ready,” “Hey Big Brother,” “Losing You,” “Born to Wander” and “I Just Want to Celebrate!”) plays a free show at 8 p.m. Saturday at Magic City Casino’s Sky 7-37 stage. VIP packages are available.
▪ Someone could win $100,000 on Fridays and Saturdays this month at Casino Miami. The casino has hourly free play drawings from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. this month, with two persons selected at 6 p.m., 10 p.m., midnight and 2 a.m. for a shot at $100K.
▪ Hialeah Park gives away $10,000 in free play Saturday. At 2, 3 and 4 p.m., slot players can win $1,000 in free play, then the prize goes to $2,000 at 5 p.m. It’s back to $1,000 for 9, 10 and 11 p.m., then up to $2,000 at midnight. Players can earn extra drawing entries for every 25 slot points they accrue.
▪ For those who like to hit the slots early, Calder Casino has “Coffee, Muffin and Free Play” on Sundays and Mondays. Earn 10 slot points every Sunday starting at 9 a.m. and receive a free muffin and cup of coffee. But you’re also entered into $50 free play drawings every 30 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. both days.
▪ The Casino @ Dania Beach and its sister property, Magic City Casino, have added “Rock Star Karaoke” contests. Prizes are $250, $150 and $50 to the winners. It’s at 8 p.m. Sundays at Dania and Thursdays at Magic City. Entry is free.
▪ The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has a $20,000 “Friday Frenzy” from 8:15 p.m. to 11:45. Five patrons will be chosen every 30 minutes to win $500 in free slot play.
▪ The big prize this month at the Isle Casino and Racing in Pompano Beach is a Jaguar XJ, to be given away at 11 p.m. Dec. 30. Qualifying drawings are every 20 minutes from 4 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Those whose names are drawn also receive $200 in free slot play.