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Florida's Hialeah Park Fined $20,000 for Violations in Poker Tournament

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  • Hialeah Park fined $20,000 after being slapped with 11 violations by Florida gaming authorities.

After Florida gaming authorities smacked 11 violations on Hialeah Park surrounding a tournament that took place last August, Miami's most popular card room has settled the matter in an agreement to pay a $20,000 fine that was approved by state gambling regulators, Michael Mayo reported for the Sun Sentinel.

The agreement, which can be viewed here, states that Hialeah Park "neither admits nor denies the violations alleged." The violations included failure to issue receipts and keep proper log of entries, failure to have surveillance video that covered the gaming floor, mishandling of jackpot funds and receipts, and failure to comply with procedure in seating players for the tournament.

The allegations came to light following raised suspicions by TJ Shulman and a group of poker players. The players felt tournament prizes and entry numbers didn't match up, and they also made it aware of further irregular activity by Hialeah Park, such as the room making agreements with players in exchange for free entries and seating players in specific seats rather than randomly-assigned ones.

According to the report from Mayo, Hialeah Park was "the most lucrative parimutuel cardroom in Miami-Dade" and pulled in over $8 million in 2015. Mayo said that a mere $20,000 "might seem like a slap on the wrist," but pointed out that the room could be suffering on a bigger scale. When the tournament cited in the allegations took place in August 2015, Hialeah Park raked in slightly over $800,000. In the first month of 2016, which Mayo said took place "during peak tourist season" in the region, the room took in less than $700,000.

To read more on this story, check out Mayo's report from the Sun Sentinel.

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