Eric Trump is planning on transforming the family’s Doral golf resort in Florida into a huge casino amid push for gambling reforms
- Republicans in Florida are pushing to legalize casinos in areas opposed to them
- The Doral resort has suffered huge losses due to Covid and Trump’s presidency
- Gambling in Florida is mostly limited to tribal casinos and horse racing
The former president’s second eldest son, who runs the family’s private company, is touting the idea amid a push by Republicans in Florida to legalize casinos in areas that have opposed them.
A bill has not been submitted yet but there are strong rumors of a proposal written by Republican legislative leaders.
Eric Trump is planning on transforming the family’s Doral golf resort in Florida into a gambling destination
Supporters and opponents are already preparing for a fight which could see Donald Trump draw on his friendship with Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The potential bill would allow developers to give gambling licenses to properties in areas where casinos have been banned and stop local municipal government from intervening, The Washington Post reports.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, an outspoken gambling critic, said: ‘My understanding is they are trying to take the gambling permits that are in South Florida and make them portable and preempt local governments from stopping them.’
Miami Beach City Commission is already preparing for a challenge and on Wednesday authorized the hiring of legal counsel.
Eric Trump told the Washington Post the Doral resort in Miami would be a natural choice for a gambling haven.
Revenue at the resort (pictured) fell sharply during Trump’s presidency, dropping 44 per cent last year alone, his government disclosure form shows
The site, which is a hospitality and corporate hub, has suffered a lull in business over the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Revenue fell sharply during Trump’s presidency, dropping 44 per cent last year alone, his government disclosure form shows.
Eric said: ‘Many people consider Trump Doral to be unmatched from a gaming perspective — at 700 acres, properties just don’t exist of that size and quality in South Florida, let alone in the heart of Miami.’
Donald Trump famously built a casino empire in Atlantic City that resulted in bankruptcies, and has often spoken out in favor of the expansion of casinos in Florida.
Gambling in Florida is mostly limited to tribal casinos and horse racing and there are regular discussions on whether to expand the industry in the Sunshine State.
One person familiar with the current proposal says it is the closest they have come in eight years to reforming the state’s gambling laws.
Sources said the plans are being headed by Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Republican from Trilby.
Trump bought the Doral site in 2012 for $150million before hiring a lobbyist to push for new gambling laws
It could be introduced as soon as next week.
DeSantis has been building a rapport with Trump and voiced his support for his reelection last year.
Despite Republican dominance in the state House, Senate and executive, views on the gambling reforms do not fall on partisan lines.
Figures in both parties have defeated previous proposals, and the state constitution requires voters to approve gambling via the ballot.
Real estate developer Armando Codina said he is aware of the proposals and is working to fight them.
He believes the reforms could make the Doral resort worth hundreds of millions of dollars more than its current valuation with a casino.
Before running for the presidency, Trump spent years attempting to convince state legislators to approve new casino licenses to no avail.
He bought the Doral site in 2012 for $150million, prompting Trump to hire a lobbyist to push for new gambling laws.
Government records show he now has a $125million loan on the property from Deutsche Bank and the resort lost $162.3million in 2018, according to The New York Times.
The Doral club is 70 miles south of Mar-a-Lago where Trump has moved since he was voted out of the White House.