(Edited Gulfstream Park release)
Gulfstream Park said Aug. 26 it will mount a vigorous defense against the $800,000 in fines sought by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering, now that the agency has concluded its two-year investigation into alleged E-promo violations at its casino facility and which were first brought to regulators attention by the facility.
In 2007, Gulfstream Park officials discovered and immediately reported a crime involving the distribution and subsequent misuse of cards that allowed guests excessive "free play," or free spins at the facility’s slot machines.
An initial, internal investigation by Gulfstream Park raised a number of concerns by officials who reported it to the DBPR’s Division of Pari-mutuel wagering which then began its investigation.
"The facts are simple. It was the company’s diligence that brought this matter to the attention of state regulators," said Marc W. Dunbar, Gulfstream Park’s attorney. "Unscrupulous employees gamed the system -- a system, which the Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering had affirmatively endorsed as evidenced by its approval of Gulfstream’s internal controls, its organizational chart, its licensing of the unscrupulous individuals despite criminal histories which were unknown to Gulfstream, and authorizing the system of free play and the procedures for its use."
"Gulfstream Park was the whistleblower here," Dunbar added.
The agency has proposed a fine of $800,000, which Gulfstream officials say they will fight and vigorously defend the facility’s status as the victim. "A proposed fine of this nature is excessive and unprecedented in this state or any other casino jurisdiction in the country," Dunbar said. "The proposed fine and the agency’s handling of this matter appear to be an attempt to overshadow the reality that this incident highlights inherent problems in Florida’s current gaming regulatory scheme.
"We look forward to defending the actions taken by Gulfstream officials in response to this incident, and to detailing the actions taken voluntarily since by Gulfstream to prevent the facility from falling prey to this type of activity in the future, as this matter moves through the administrative hearing process."