Poarch Creeks to Buy Miami’s Magic City Casino

The Alabama-based Poarch Band of Creek Indians is on the cusp of acquiring Magic City Casino in Miami, one of Florida’s longest-run gambling operations, The Miami Herald reports.

Magic City
Magic City
Magic City Casino has been run by the same family for 70 years. Its new owner will be the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. (Image: Magic City Casino)

The Poarch Creeks have entered into an asset purchase agreement with current owner West Flagler Associates that will see the tribe acquire 100% ownership interest and equity interest in Magic City’s gambling permit for an undisclosed sum, regulatory approval allowing. That’s according to an application submitted to the Florida Gaming Control Commission last month.

The commission board is expected to meet Thursday in Tallahassee to discuss transferring the permit to the tribe, which operates several casinos and racetracks across the US via its gaming arm, Wind Creek Hospitality.

The commission’s staff have recommended the five-member board approve the transfer of the permit, according to The Herald. Many details are redacted in the copy of the asset purchasing agreement uploaded to the commission’s website. This includes information on the financing of the deal.

Expanding Footprint

The Poarch Creeks have been expanding their gaming footprint across the US in recent years, far beyond their Alabama reservation. Most notably, they acquired the Sands Bethlehem from LVS in 2019 for $1.3 billion, renaming it the Wind Creek Bethlehem.

They also own two properties in North Florida, a card room in Pensacola and a barrel racing track and card room in Gretna.

Magic City first received a permit to offer gambling in 1931. This was for greyhound racing at its Flagler Dog Track. Races were run continually until 2018, when the waning popularity prompted Magic City to focus on jai alai instead.

The property is one of a just a few card rooms in Florida permitted to offer slots as well as parimutuel betting. Outside of the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock-branded casinos, slots play is restricted to a handful of operations in Miami Dade and Broward counties,

Family Business

Magic City has been a family-run business since 1952, passing through three generations of the Havenick family, which owns West Flagler Associates. The company also runs the Bonita Springs Poker Room near Fort Myers, which will remain in its control.

In addition, it has a permit to operate jai alai on in Miami’s up-and-coming Edgewater neighborhood. It has been pushing to for years to establish a parimutuel facility there but has met with local resistance.

West Flagler spearheaded the legal challenge that led to a DC federal judge rejecting Florida’s proposed compact with the Seminole tribe. That agreement would have given the tribe a monopoly on sports betting in the state.

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