Horse Racing At The Airport? Don't Say Neigh Just Yet

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Miami's airport wants slot machines, but it's not legal unless there's horse racing on the premises. Hey, there's a lot of open space in the parking lot...

The combined racetrack/slots parlors that are popping up everywhere are called racinos, and they're the product of a strange law that only allows gambling in places there's already gambling. Miami International Airport sees slots as a surefire revenue source, much like the ones in Las Vegas's McCarran.


Therefore, to get their hands on that potential $17 million a year, there needs to be some kind of horse racing nearby. So airport officials have submitted a proposal to the state, saying they hope to partner with a local track. But if that partnership falls through?

Included in the proposal is a backup plan that would hold 20-40 races a year in an employee parking lot.

The site is sufficient to accommodate a J-loop track that will allow for races of distances generally conducted at quarter horse race meets,'' the county's application with the state's Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering states.


So desperate is the airport for the invasion of the one-armed bandits that they appear to have snuck the parkling lot plan into the proposal without getting the OK from local officials.

County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez supports the slots idea as a needed revenue boost to financially-strapped MIA. The county estimates adding slots could bring in $17 million a year.

But though Gimenez voted in favor of the quarter-horse permit application, he said no one ever told him about the possibility of actually holding races at the airport.

"I'm not OK with that,'' Gimenez said. "Number one, where are we going to put the employees and their cars?''

Considering the likelihood of a horse, spooked by the constant roar of landing planes, running amok through the faux-Irish bars and Starbucks carts of the concourse, I'm not sure parking spots should be his number one concern.

Slots, Horses Could Mix At Miami International Airport [Miami Herald]