Update: Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced on July 2 that he was “rolling back the reopening” of the region’s four casinos as Florida’s single-day count of new COVID-19 cases hit a record high of 10,109. Hialeah Park, Casino Miami, Magic City, and Calder re-shuttered their business only weeks after resuming operations following coronavirus closures. The directive also implemented a daily 10pm curfew starting July 3.
Following the announcement, racing, online betting, and gaming entertainment company Churchill Downs Incorporated also temporarily suspended operations at its Calder Casino in Florida from July 3.
The Miccosukee Resort & Gaming facility located in the Miami outskirts is exempt from the order, with neither state nor county having jurisdiction over tribal casinos.
Ready in the starting gates
South Florida casinos are preparing to reopen as state and county governments relax stay-at-home requirements during the coronavirus pandemic. Casinos in Broward and Miami-Dade counties have the green light to open Friday, while many museums, arcades, and bowling alleys that have not already reopened will do so in the coming days.
The facilities are required to close again if any employees test positive for the novel coronavirus.
Broward County casinos and racetracks were originally supposed to wait until June 15, but County Administrator Bertha Henry announced on Wednesday a new emergency order that would allow the facilities to reopen tomorrow, June 12.
The facilities are required to close again if any employees test positive for the novel coronavirus. There have been 69,069 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida to date and 2,851 confirmed deaths.
Whose doors will be open?
In Miami-Dade County, the Hialeah Park Racing and Casino, Casino Miami, and Calder Casino are all reopening on Friday with reduced capacity. The Miccosukee Tribe casinos have already been open since May.
In Broward County, the Casino at Dania Beach, the Big Easy Casino, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Seminole Classic Casino, and the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek will all be reopening on Friday. Horse racing has already restarted at Gulfstream Park, with the on-site casino set to reopen at a yet-to-be-announced date.
Extensive health and safety protocols
On June 4, Miami-Dade County announced that casinos and other entertainment venues could submit their reopening plans for review. Some, but not all, have been approved, allowing the facilities to move forward with reopening plans.
Casinos across the United States have been gradually reopening the past few weeks, depending on their city, county, and state. Most of the properties have been dark for nearly three months, burning through cash reserves and furloughing workers.
Tribal casinos separate
While most of the country’s tribal casinos complied with state closure orders, some refused to do so and reopened earlier than was advised. Tribal casinos are not subject to state gaming regulations, as they are on sovereign land.
The tribe employs almost 14,000 people
The Seminole Tribe of Florida, the biggest player in the state’s casino industry, has mostly kept its casino floors closed since March 20. Some of its poker rooms have been open since May. The tribe employs almost 14,000 people and holds significant political sway in the state.