Edited press release
Magna Entertainment Corp. said it intends to proceed with the development of a slot-machine facility at Gulfstream Park despite a decision by the Florida District Court of Appeal First District.
The court on Aug. 8 reversed a lower court decision granting summary judgment in favor of Floridians for a Level Playing Field, of which Gulfstream is a member. The court ruled that a trial is necessary to determine whether the organization obtained the required number of signatures to place the constitutional amendment on slots on the ballot in November 2004.
MEC in an Aug. 9 release said it believes the decision is incorrect, and if a trial were to be held, Floridians for a Level Playing Field would prevail on the merits. If the group is ultimately unsuccessful in the litigation, then the statewide vote amending the Florida constitution to permit slot machines at pari-mutuels could be invalidated.
MEC expects the group will explore all available options, including a petition for rehearing, a rehearing en banc, and filing a motion for certification to the Florida Supreme Court.
In a related matter, MEC reached a definitive agreement with the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association on the purse contributions from slots revenue at Gulfstream. Under the terms of the agreement, the Florida HBPA will receive 7.5% of slots revenue once the first 500 machines are installed and operational.
The company's initial plans are to have 500 machines installed and operational at before the end of October. In the event MEC installs and operates 1,500 slot machines, which is the maximum permitted under law, the agreement calls for the Florida HBPA to receive 6.75% of the first $200 million in annual slots revenue, and 12.6% of annual slots revenue in excess of $200 million.