Hialeah Park Race Track unveils $150 casino expansion

Hialeah ParkLast Friday, Sept. 9th, representatives of Hialeah Park officially unveiled plans to build a new $150 million casino scheduled to open in November 2012. The first phase of  the project will feature 1,250 slot machines and a 30-table poker room. The first phase is expected to open late next year and would create 8,000 jobs, about half of which would go to city residents. Brunetti also announced plans for a second phase of the development beginning in 2014. Phase two will feature two hotels, a parking garage, a retail complex, and an office building.

“We appreciate the patience and support of everyone in the local community and our friends in the local and state political arenas. We’ve had our hurdles but we’ve cleared them now and everything is full steam ahead. We only get one chance to do this and we wanted to make sure we do it right. When we’re finished, it will be something that people will be talking about all over the world.” commented Hialeah Park owner John Brunetti said in a press release.

Hialeah Park closed in 2001, after losing stream and business to Calder Casino & Race Course in Miami Gardens and Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Hallandale Beach. A couple of years later after its closure, the facility owner, John Brunetti, put the 200-acre property on sale, but when Miami-Dade voters approved slots in 2008, Brunetti implemented a plan to revitalize the facility and applied for a racing permit, a requirement before obtaining a slot license.

“Our goal is to restore Hialeah Park as a premiere racing, gaming and entertainment destination,” Brunetti said.

But other gaming facilities in the Miami-Dade area are not happy with the expansion project. Calder Racetrack and two other pari-mutuels including Magic City Casino have filed a lawsuit in state courts challenging Hialeah’s rights to open a casino. The lawsuit claims the slots vote was only for horse tracks, dog tracks and jai-alai facilities operating at the time.

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