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Will Another Trump Try Running A Casino?

It was exactly one month ago that thousands of sticks of dynamite brought down the decaying shell of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., officially erasing the last vestige of Donald Trump’s failed foray into the gambling industry. He wasn’t exactly good at it, having lost all three of his seaside casinos to bankruptcies.

That makes it almost comical that the twice-impeached, one-term former president’s son, Eric, is making noise about potentially turning the family business’s Doral golf resort in Florida into a gambling destination. The Miami resort, where $150 is the least expensive fee to play 18 holes of golf, is suffering financially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and Trump polarizing personality. Revenue at the heavily leverage property fellĀ  44 percent last year, according to Trump’s government financial disclosure form. Hundreds of workers have been laid off or furloughed.

Gambling in Florida currently is limited to tribal casinos and horse racing tracks, but every year someone floats a proposal to expand its availability. Political observers there think such an effort could stand a better chance this year given Trump’s interest and his close relationship with the state’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

In an email to the Washington Post, Eric Trump wrote, “Many people consider Trump Doral to be unmatched from a gaming perspective – at 700 acres, properties just don’t exist of that size and quality in South Florida, let alone in the heart of Miami.”

Not everyone is a fan of the prospect of introducing gambling to Miami. Armando Codina, a Republican real estate developer who has built offices, homes, restaurants and a school in the Doral area, already is gearing up to fight the proposal. “I think this would be bad for Florida, and I think it would be terrible for Miami-Dade County,” Codina said. “We’ve created a venue that is a family venue. If this was to happen in Doral, we would over time probably sell a bunch of our interests.”

South Florida billionaire and philanthropist Norman Braman is equally dismissive of the idea. “We don’t need it,” Braman said. “It’s nonsense that tourists will come here to gamble. It just doesn’t make sense. It will feed off the community.”



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