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Agency continues to reject Gulfstream - Genting deal

From the News Service of Florida

State regulators denied a request to move a non-profit pari-mutuel permit associated with Gulfstream Park racetrack to a downtown Miami location, effectively blocking a deal with gambling giant Genting to start a stand-alone casino.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation on Friday denied the request by the Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred After Racing Program Inc., or GPTARP, saying that the permit was issued to the non-profit for use in Broward County and can't be moved to Miami-Dade County.

The permit is a cornerstone of a deal struck by Gulfstream and Resorts World, a division of Malaysia-based Genting Group, along with breeders and thoroughbred horse owners and trainers, to open a casino hotel at a Miami bayfront property purchased by Genting in 2011 for $236 million.

Under the plan, Resorts World would use the GPTARP permit to operate up to 2,000 slot machines at the Miami locale, while races would continue at theGulfstream site.

Critics of the plan say that it would essentially "decouple" racing from the more-lucrative gambling --- slot machines and poker --- the pari-mutuel permits allow. Resorts World lobbyists are also trying to get lawmakers to approve the deal during the legislative session that ends in May.

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