A lifelong dream born thirty years ago finally came true on October 15th, 2009 as the Flagler Dog Racing Track open the doors of its slots casino-complete with flashing lights, loud sounds and a full house. The Magic City Casino formally opened to the public at 10:00 a.m., the culmination of years of constant lobbying and work by the Havenick family, which has managed the pari-mutuel facility for generations.
Barbara Havenick, the Flagler Dog Racing Track's Chief Executive Officer said that they are very excited and happy since what they have lobbied for so long came true at last. She said that the slot machines will have a positive impact on the whole Miami-Dade County.
Flagler track, which is located at Northwest Seventh Street and 37th Ave. in Miami-Dade, is the first racino in the county to offer Las Vegas-style machines, which have been in operation in pari-mutuels in Broward County since 2006.
Barbara Havenick's late husband, Fred Havenick was one of the leading figures in the fight to bring slot machines to South Florida racing tracks in 1978. He died in 2006, but Barbara and his three sons, Izzy, Alex and Michael, kept Fred Havenick's dream alive.
Florida and Miami-Dade County both approved slot machines in the past five years and the Havenick's did not let the chance go to waste. The result of their hard work is a new gameroom that offers seven hundred new slot machines and about five hundred new casino employees. The project cost an estimated fifty-four million dollars, the majority of which was borrowed by the Havenick family.
38 year-old Rochelle Henderson of Miami-Dade County said that she usually plays slot machines at different gaming facilities in Florida but playing at Flagler is very convenient since it is close to her residence. But work at the racing track is far from finish.
The Havenick family is transforming a large, one-acre hangar into a bar, food court and gaming area for the virtual blackjack machines, which were approved by state officials earlier this month. Flagler is also hoping to extend its reach by remodeling a part of its grandstand to a three thousand-seat concert amphitheatre, which will feature local musicians five nights a week and well-known recording artists on Saturdays.
Jamaican reggae singer Shaggy will perform on November 14th, 2009 on the amphitheatre. The track will still host dog races everyday but Mondays and Wednesdays until the construction is finished.