Broward County Slot Machine Ruling Appealed

Regulation of slot machines in Broward County, Fla. may be headed to the appellate court following a lower court ruling favorable to pari-mutuel operators.

Friday, as the Broward County Commission was preparing to discuss regulation of slots, Broward state attorney Mike Satz, the defendant of a lawsuit filed by pari-mutuel operators to determine the legality of operating slots absent regulation from the State Legislature, filed an appeal.

The appeal comes three days after circuit court judge Leroy Moe, acting on a lawsuit brought by Gulfstream Park, Hollywood Greyhound Track, Pompano Park (harness) racing, and Dania Jai-Alai, ruled that the State Legislature, by failing to enact slot legislation during its session that ended in May, violated the intent of the constitutional amendment approved last November.

Moe granted the county's pari-mutuel operators the right to commence offering slots on July 1 and authorized the county commission to draft rules no later than that date.

Ron Book, a lobbyist for the pari-mutuel operators, believes that regulation of slots will ultimately be taken up by the State Legislature during a special session that may take place in the fall.

"It's in everybody's interest to have the legislature deal with this," said Book. "Nobody would win if this kept bouncing around in the courts. We need the legislature to go back into session."

Pompano Park had hoped to be the first to offer slots, but executive vice president Allan Solomon now says the track will await further action by the courts or Legislature.

"I don't know what this does to the timetable," Solomon said. "We're trying to position ourselves so that once we get the go ahead we can move right away."