Donald Trump Handed Florida Gambling Lifeline with Doral Resort-Casino Conversion

By  //  March 25, 2021

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Former president Donald Trump has only been out of the job for two months, but already residents in Florida may be witnessing a post-office boom in his presence in the state.

It was widely predicted that Trump promised to benefit most from his presidency after he left the role, and a push to convert the family’s Doral golf resort in Florida into a casino could be among the first signs of that being true.

The Washington Post has reported Republican leaders in the state plan to submit a bill that would “allow developers to transfer gambling licenses to properties in areas where casinos have long been prohibited.”

It’s expected this would allow state legislators to overrule local lawmakers with the right support, and Eric Trump, son of the former president and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, has described Doral—located in Miami-Dade County—as “a natural choice” for the switch.

After first acquiring the Mar-a-Lago estate in 1985, Trump declared the Palm Beach location as his permanent residence in 2019 and has lived there since being voted out of office, per CNN.

As with any movement concerning gambling within Florida lines, however, the Seminole Tribe remains a key factor in any negotiations to turn the golf resort into a casino destination.

The Seminole carry substantial political sway in the state and boast gaming exclusivity due to a 20-year compact agreed in 2010. However, the Tribe is currently in conflict with the state, having halted their annual $350 million payment due to a disagreement over multiplayer games.

Space Coast Daily recently examined whether laws concerning online casinos could be relaxed in the United States following the coronavirus pandemic, but the revenue generated by brick-and-mortar sites will provides the industry’s backbone once normal activity is permitted.

This wouldn’t be Trump’s first foray into the casino industry.

Long before he made his way to the White House, the 74-year-old built three casino locations in Atlantic City, but his New Jersey empire was shrouded in controversy and corruption. Forbes detailed that all three businesses filed for bankruptcy after failing to pay the contractors that helped build them, with the oldest of that trio—the Trump Plaza Hotel—recently destroyed via a controlled demolition:

Florida Representative Joseph Geller (D) said of reports concerning a possible Trump casino at Doral: “This guy has bankrupted every casino he’s ever run. How do you bankrupt a casino? I don’t think we need a failed casino. We don’t want to be the next Atlantic City.”

The Sunshine State has long raised resistance against gambling in most of its forms, and with the Seminole Tribe’s own activities currently in some state of limbo, Trump’s chances of muscling in on the act don’t appear all that bright at present. Then again, many would have said the same about his chances of becoming President of the United States.

It’s possible the Doral resort could be a tempting purchase for the Seminole—who already control six of the seven Indian casinos in Florida—but then selling has never been the Trump remit. That’s especially the case considering the billionaire would be giving up one of his numerous golf locations, something that’s difficult to envision in his retired life.