Billionaire Ken Griffin Opposes Transfer of Casino Licenses
The controversy over casino licenses in Miami has taken a new turn as billionaire hedge funder Ken Griffin has come out against the proposed transfer of a license from Hallandale Beach to Fontainebleau Miami Beach resort.
Griffin, a major donor to the Republican party and a prominent real estate investor in Florida, penned an open letter to the Miami Herald titled “Casinos are a bad bet for Florida.” In the letter, Griffin voiced his opposition to Senate Bill 1054 and House Bill 1127, which would allow for the transfer of casino licenses within a 30-mile radius.
The issue at hand revolves around the attempt by Jeff Soffer, owner of the Big Easy Casino in Hallandale Beach, to transfer the license to Fontainebleau Miami Beach resort, which is also owned by Soffer’s company, Fontainebleau Development. In an effort to support his cause, Soffer has made significant political contributions to the Republican Party of Florida and other political actions.
Griffin’s position is rooted in his belief that opening casinos will have a negative impact on the prosperity of the state, leading to increased crime rates, decreased property values, and an uptick in gambling addiction. He also highlighted the violation of a constitutional amendment from 2018 that gave voters the right to determine the expansion of casinos in the area.
Additionally, Griffin drew attention to the historical context of gambling in Miami Beach, pointing out that voters had previously decided to prohibit gambling in the city, a decision supported by city officials. As a result, the opening of casinos in Miami Beach continues to be a contentious issue, with powerful interests on both sides of the debate.
Griffin’s efforts to oppose the transfer of casino licenses underscore the complex web of political and economic interests at play in the debate over the future of gambling in Miami.