Calder Race Course breaks ground on casino - Tuesday 16th of June 2009

Calder Race Course is getting into the gaming derby by breaking ground on an $85 million, 104,000-square-foot casino with 1,225 slot machines.

The slot machine operations are expected to create 250 to 300 jobs at Calder, which is just south of the Miami-Dade/Broward county line near Land Shark Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins. The company broke ground on Wednesday.

The Calder complex also will include three restaurants.

Track owner Churchill Downs (NASDAQ: CHDN) hopes to have the complex completed by early 2010, in time for the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl at Land Shark Stadium.

In January 2008, voters approved a referendum to allow slot machines at the three existing pari-mutuels in Miami-Dade County. The other two are Miami Jai-Alai and Flagler Dog Track, which are closer to downtown Miami.

"The voters of Miami-Dade County said they wanted additional gaming opportunities like their neighbors in Broward County, we promised to bring those opportunities to them, and now we are delivering on that promise," Churchill Downs COO Bill Carstanjen said in a news release.

South Florida has a growing number of gaming facilities, including several operated by the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes and horse and dog tracks in Broward County.

Calder is due west of Gulfstream Park, a thoroughbred track that straddles the county line and offers slot machines with a dining and entertainment complex. Its parent company, Aurora, Ontario-based Magna Entertainment (OTCBB: MECAQ), filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware in March.

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