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Ken Griffin Wants to Stop ‘Toxic Waste’ Casinos in South Florida *Centurion Insurance AFS*

Feb 02, 2024 (0) comment , , , , , , , , , ,


(Bloomberg) — Ken Griffin wants to exert more influence in Florida politics. One of his top priorities: stopping new casinos in his backyard.

The state’s second-richest person is opposing a bill that would allow new gambling venues in South Florida cities such as Miami Beach and Doral, home to the Trump National resort.

“Allowing casinos to harm thriving communities and undermine Florida families is like willingly dumping toxic waste into the Everglades,” Griffin wrote in a letter to the Miami Herald.

The Citadel founder, worth $36.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, moved to Miami in 2022, relocating parts of his business and snapping up real estate, including almost $200 million of property in Miami Beach’s Star Island. He described the casino proposal as a “gimmick created by lobbyists and special interest groups that blatantly disregards our voice as voters and puts Florida’s momentum at risk.”

Filed this month by Republican state representative Alex Rizo, the bill would allow casino operators to relocate their current permits to new locations within 30 miles, circumventing local restrictions. That would allow real estate mogul Jeffrey Soffer to create a gambling venue in the luxury Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach.

Griffin’s opposition is just the latest example of the billionaire flexing his Florida influence. Last year, he helped water down a proposal that placed restrictions on real estate purchases by individuals from China, Venezuela and five other “countries of concern” before it was enacted. On Tuesday, he told attendees at a Miami conference he would be be “deeply involved” in Florida political races locally.

To Griffin, “urban casinos damage communities and erode quality of life,” he wrote in his letter.

“Casinos are a bad bet for South Florida. We need to defeat this reckless legislation, defend our personal rights as voters and protect Florida’s future.”

The Florida push to expand gambling is part of a larger national effort that is sparking huge lobbying efforts and dividing communities.

Miriam Adelson, widow of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, is purchasing a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks with an eye on eventually building a casino and arena complex. In Chicago, the city Griffin left for Miami, local authorities have pushed for a casino as a way of mending its troubled finances. Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen, meanwhile, is partnering with Hard Rock International in a proposal to build an $8 billion casino in a parking lot in Queens.

Photo: Ken Griffin (Lam Yik/Bloomberg)

Copyright 2024 Bloomberg.


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