TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The state’s approval of a plan to open a pari-mutuel facility near St. Augustine has drawn a legal challenge from another gambling operator down Interstate 95.
Daytona Beach Kennel Club, Inc., last week filed a challenge to a decision by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to allow the relocation of a long-existing gambling permit to the site of the planned facility in St. Johns County.
Bayard Raceways, Inc. notified the department in July that it planned to relocate the permit to open a facility at an eight-acre site along Interstate 95 southwest of St. Augustine. The permit was used in the past at a dog track in northern St. Johns County, though it had been more recently used through an arrangement with a track in neighboring Clay County.
Louis Trombetta, director of the state department’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, signed off on the relocation Sept. 11.
But Daytona Beach Kennel Club, Inc. contended in the challenge filed last week at the state Division of Administrative Hearings that regulators did not properly analyze the relocation plan under administrative law. The challenge points, in part, to the fact that the new facility would be within 50 miles of the Volusia County gambling operation, which goes by the name Daytona Beach Racing and Card Club.
“Petitioner’s (Daytona Beach Kennel Club’s) substantial interests are affected by the division’s agency statement because the relocation of the St. Johns greyhound permit to the proposed location is within 50 miles of the DBKC facility and will substantially deteriorate DBKC’s revenue-producing capability,” the challenge said. “This is a factor that must be considered as part of the ... relocation analysis (under part of state law) directly applicable to this matter, yet was completely disregarded by the division.”
Bayard Raceways filed a notice Tuesday of intervening in the case and said the challenge should be rejected.
“Ultimately, Bayard seeks a final order dismissing Daytona Kennel’s petition as lacking any basis in fact or law,” the notice said. “Bayard reserves all rights and defenses.”
The case has been assigned to Administrative Law Judge Suzanne Van Wyk, who on Thursday scheduled a hearing for Jan. 27 and Jan. 28.
Florida voters in 2018 approved a constitutional amendment that imposed a ban on greyhound racing, effective at the end of this year. But pari-mutuel facilities can continue to operate poker rooms and offer gambling on such things as horse and dog racing beamed in from other parts of the country.
The Daytona Beach facility and bestbet Orange Park, the Clay County facility where the Bayard Raceways permit has been used, have ended live greyhound racing.