State Watch

Florida city bans gambling amid prospects of Trump-owned casino

The city of Doral in Florida’s Miami-Dade County voted unanimously on Wednesday to officially ban gambling and casinos in the city, potentially putting in jeopardy reported plans for former President Trump’s Doral golf resort to establish its own casino. 

With the 4-0 vote from the Doral City Council, properties wishing to establish gambling or a casino must get a request approved by residents in a referendum. 

The move follows last month’s approval from the Florida state legislature for a 30-year compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state of Florida. 

Under the agreement, the tribe would be prohibited from interfering if the state government decides to give a gambling license to a facility that is more than 15 miles “in a straight line” from the tribe’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.

Trump’s Doral resort is located about 18 miles from the Hard Rock, thus opening the door should Trump seek a gambling license for his resort, which he purchased in 2012 and spent roughly $250 million renovating. 

Eric Trump, the former president’s son who runs the Trump Doral, indicated earlier this year that the Trump Organization would be interested in establishing a casino at Doral. 

“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,” Trump told The Washington Post in March. 

However, the Doral City Council in May voted in favor of an emergency ordinance banning casinos in city limits, with Wednesday’s vote approving the measure on a nonemergency basis. 

Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez told the Miami Herald ahead of Wednesday’s vote that the city “wanted to make sure we weighed in.” 

“We will take whatever steps necessary,” he added. 

Local officials have expressed fears that casinos would negatively impact their communities, with Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber writing a letter to the Department of the Interior asking that the federal government reject Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe. 

DeSantis, a vocal ally of Donald Trump, at a bill signing this week pushed back on speculation that the compact was established to benefit the former president or any single individual looking to establish casinos across the state. 

The governor specifically called Gelber’s letter “pure, idiotic politics.” 

“Some of these partisan politicians are always trying to elevate themselves with any cheap headline they can get, trying to inject Trump into this … they just can’t help themselves,” DeSantis argued. 

Tags Casino Donald Trump Doral Eric Trump Florida Gambling Miami Beach Miami Herald Miami-Dade Ron DeSantis Trump golf resorts
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