The Florida Panthers could become the first major U.S. sports team linked with a casino if the necessary gaming expansion is permitted by state legislators.
Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the Panthers' NHL franchise, is partnering with Las Vegas-based casino giant Boyd Gaming Corporation for a proposed hotel casino in Broward County. The establishment would sit adjacent to the BB&T Center — the home of the Panthers — in the city of Sunrise, FL.
According to CBS Miami, a new proposal was pitched to the Senate Gaming Committee on Monday. Unlike a traditional casino resort that includes a convention center, the proposal includes a plan develop only a hotel and spa and a casino with table games and slot machines and minimal retail.
"The agreement with Sunrise Sports Entertainment positions us to take advantage of a potential development opportunity in an attractive location," said Keith Smith, president and CEO of Boyd Gaming. "The project would be in an ideal location in Broward County, adjacent to two attractions that already draw substantial visitor volumes, with easy access to several major traffic corridors."
Michael Yormark, president and CEO of Sunrise Sports & Entertainment and the Panthers NHL hockey team, said he would not be pursuing convention business and would not compete with Broward County’s convention center. But Yormark added that a casino and resort-type hotel is needed in order to have a "level playing field" with Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino near Hollywood, Fla. The Seminole Hard Rock has been a hotspot for poker players in the past year, hosting a massive $10 million guaranteed tournament in August and recently scheduling a $10 million guaranteed World Poker Tour Main Event for April 2014.
Boyd Gaming owns and operates 22 gaming properties in eight states — Nevada, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. In 2007, the Boyd purchased a facility in the Miami, Fla. area with hopes of expanding it into a casino, but legislative efforts to allow new casinos in the region fizzled out.
Photo courtesy of sun-sentinel.com.