MIAMI (CBS4) – A long-time South Florida business is getting a much needed boost. A group of private investors are dumping tens of millions of dollars to renovate Miami Jai-Alai.
Their secret weapon will be to make it an entertainment destination, and they plan to do it with a state of the art casino.
The popularity of fastest game in the world has dwindled over the years in Miami, but now a new renovation project hopes to put more people in the seats.
A ground breaking kicked off the construction of the new casino, an 87 million dollar investment designed to turn grand ball rooms into a state of the art casino and entertainment center it once was in the 70’s and 80s.
“We were sports. We were entertainment. We were all that. We lost it over the years. We had a tough time competing. We did not have all the product and we are getting it back,” said Dan Licciardi, General Manager of Florida Gaming Corporation.
And in doing so, officials hope to bring 600 construction Jobs and 350 permanent casino jobs before the Casino opens in 2012.
The new casino at Miami Jai-Alai will have to compete with several other gaming centers across South Florida.
The true secret weapon will be nostalgia. The center needs to rebuild the casino at Miami Jai-Alai to gain the momentum it had when the game was at its peak and ten thousand people attended the game
“That is what is going to distinguish us because everybody remembers Jai-Alai during its hay day,” said Rene Guim with Miami Casino Management, the company who is investing in the facility.
The casino’s profits will be divided. The state makes 35 percent, the city of Miami will make 1.5 %, and Miami Dade County will make 1.5 %. The rest goes to the managing company. The project is privately funded.
No tax dollars are being used, according to officials.