Billionaire Developer Wants To Update Florida’s Gambling Laws

Billionaire Developer Wants To Update Florida’s Gambling Laws

Billionaire Developer Wants To Update Florida’s Gambling Laws
Jefferey Soffer is a billionaire in his own right. He is the son of billionaire real estate developer Donald Soffer. With that kind of money to throw around, there are always going to be new projects on the board.
A current project on Jeffrey’s wish list is a casino hotel and resort in Miami Beach. More specifically, he is looking to build the casino under the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Brand.

This plan puts him directly at odds with current Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. He has made it his mission to discourage late-night entertainment in the city.

How Does Billionaire Developer Wants To Update Florida’s Gambling Laws

The mayor appears to have the support of the Miami Beach commissioners. They recently voted to retain the services of lawyers to stop Soffer in his tracks.

Gelber was quoted as saying:

What they are going to want to do apparently is take casino licenses, take gaming licenses, gambling licenses that exist right now in parimutuels (slot machines, card games and things like that) and allow them to become portable.”

Back in 2005, the Soffer family’s Turnberry Associates bought the iconic Fontainebleau Miami Beach. That property is located at 4441 Collins Ave. Since then, the property was shifted to Fontainebleau Development, which is owned by Jeffrey Soffer. This company also owns real estate that neighbors the Fontainebleau.

The licenses that the mayor referred to are tied to the Mardi Gras Casino and Race Track in Hallandale Beach. Soffer has Florida licenses for racing, cardroom games, slots and combos.

He has also partnered with the real estate division of Koch Industries in a Las Vegas development project. His vision in that casino gambling town is the Fontainebleau Las Vegas.

His broadscale plan in Florida is to update current state gaming laws. A gambling bill is currently in the draft stage. Sources close to speculate that state lawmakers will reveal its contents shortly.

Casino gambling in the Miami area appears to be a two-sided coin. It has been suggested that Soffer has the support of the governor and state legislative leadership. Billionaire Norman Braman has gone on record as being against gambling in the Miami-Dade area.

Braman already opposed the Genting Group’s plan to bring casino gambling to the area. The site of that project was the former Miami Herald property in Biscayne Bay. Simply put, Braman stated

“This is poison for our community.”

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Another opponent of casinos in the area is Armando Codina. He is a real estate developer based in Coral Gables. He stated that “casinos are the most selfish industry on the planet.”

The other big issue is the Seminole Tribe of Florida. They currently own and operate six casino gaming properties in the state. In 2018, the tribe partnered with The Walt Disney Co. to fight the expansion of gambling in the state.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has been having ongoing discussions with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The tribe’s current exclusive status as the only state casino operator would be a major hurdle to clear.

• Source: Billionaire with Miami Beach casino vision pushes legislature to update gambling laws from On March 21, 2021.

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