It was first built for jai-alai more than 80 years ago, and slot machines have occupied it for only five, so understandably, there’s a lot of upgrading to do at Casino Miami. That explains the construction fences and signage on the property, which will go away within months, CEO Dave Jonas said.
The upgrade will cost about $20 million, and begins with a revamped entryway.
“We’re bringing it into 2016, making it something that we can be proud of,” Jonas said. “When we’re done the whole sense of arrival should look like what you’d expect at a Las Vegas casino.”
The first phase of the façade will be done by the end of June, Jonas said, and the entire project should be finished within a year.
The casino had originally budgeted $15 million for upgrades — half for the outside and half for the inside. Another $5 million will be spent on revamping the roof and the restrooms.
Additions include adding a new whisky bar, “Whiskies,” and a bar named MIA (for the nearby Miami International Airport). Casino Miami opened Club Rio inside the facility more than a year ago and will upgrade it and include electronic table games for a sophisticated area designed to draw a younger clientele — something vital in the gambling game, he said.
Finally, there will be a yet-unnamed sports bar, with “very big” TV screens.
“We really adding spaces while working within a fairly limited budget,” Jonas said. “We’re trying to add spaces that create reasons for people to show up.”
Seminoles’ cash-free process
Frequent slot players at Seminole casinos now can use technology to facilitate transactions. The tribe is the first in the nation to offer two features invented by Scientific Games. They’re called “Power Bank” and “Self-Pay Jackpot.”
Power Bank allows patrons to transfer money to a slot machine after they have created a Seminole credit account, eliminating the need to carry cash.
Self-Pay Jackpot eliminates delays after hitting a slot jackpot of $1,200 or more, which causes machines to lock up as tax paperwork is filed. Slot players with documents on file can quickly just load the big slot score onto their account. They’ll get paperwork at the end of the year.
Both of the new features are for the more frequent players. I mean, a casual slot patron like me grins at the idea of not stopping play after hitting a jackpot. But more info is available at the casino cashier cages.
▪ The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Room has $1,000 high hands every 30 minutes (with rollover) from noon to midnight Saturday and June 11. Winners also receive a $570 mega satellite seat into the upcoming Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open. The promotion also runs 6 p.m. to midnight on June 16 and 24.
▪ The Isle Casino in Pompano Beach has a $40,000 guaranteed tournament Monday and Tuesday. Buy-in is $100. The casino also has a free tournament, with the top 10 players dividing $2,000, at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
▪ Magic City Casino has two poker tournaments a week. Buy-in is $80 at 8 p.m. Mondays and $50 at 2 p.m. Thursdays.
▪ Hialeah Park continues its Saturday giveaways in June, leading up to a big bonus on July 2 — a Mercedes-Benz at 1 a.m. Meanwhile, each Saturday, players’ club members receive free entries and can earn more entries with every 25 points earned. The prizes are $1,000 in free play hourly from 2 to 4 p.m., $2,000 cash at 5 p.m. Then it’s $1,000 in free play hourly from 9 to 11 p.m., and $2,000 cash at midnight.
▪ Calder Casino’s glow-in-the-dark “BinGlo” returns at 7, 9 and 11 p.m. Friday, with top prizes of $2,500 per session. Slot players must earn 50 points for a card.
▪ “Broadway Nights and Disco Lights,” featuring Peter Fernandez, is set for 8 p.m. Saturday at The Casino @ Dania Beach. Admission is free. Food trucks will be at the casino from 5 to 10 p.m.
▪ Gulfstream Park slot players get a “Summer Gift Card” for each 25 points they earn between 9 a.m. and midnight Sundays in June. (Limit three for regular patrons, five for VIPs, the bigger players who earn points faster.)
Get daily gambling news at SouthFloridaGambling.com