Tell Me About Gambling in Southeast Florida

I’m writing a fictional story wherein one of the characters develops a gambling problem. The story takes place near Miami.

What are some gambling opportunities in the Miami area? I know there’s horse racing (Hialeah), dog racing, and Jai-alai. Are there land-based casinos? How about off-shore casinos?

Also, I know there are casinos in the Bahamas. Do they offer some sort of transportation deal to Americans (for example, free passage on a passenger ferry from Miami) to get them to their casinos? If so, how long is the trip?

Many thanks.

There is the Hard Rock casino on Seminole land in Miami. There is another casino, owned by a different tribe, just west of Miami along US 27. I forget the name, but it’s out in the swamp/glades area. I’m not sure about these two, but the one near us has slot machines, poker tables and bingo. No blackjack or similar. There was an amendment on a recent state election ballot to allow slot machines more widely in that area, but I’m not sure what exactly has come of it.

If it is just a story for fun, then this may not matter as much, but Hialeah has been closed down for some time.

There is a track that has a casino near Miami;

But the casino part with slots and poker is new this year, so you can’t have your characters having much of a background of going there.

Just for horseracing near Miami is:

Now not sure how much getting the details right matters, but as a horse player familiar with these places, it drives me nuts to read as story where the characters are at these places watching live racing during a time I know the tracks are not running.

Generally when one is open for live racing and the other is open only as a betting parlor. But the new casino is open year round. The Gulfstream Park meet only runs Jan-March.

And there are a lot of little details that would be easy to confuse. Not all tracks offer the same bets. Some tracks are free to enter, some charge. Some race during the day, some at night. Some are closed on certain days of the week, some aren’t. Weeks of a big event the post times and dark days can change.

Again, I don’t know if all that little stuff matters. If you wanted to write a scene that takes place at a track and wanted to make sure you weren’t too far off, you might find a horse racing message board and get some feedback. I have read stories where someone wins big money one day at Churchill Downs, then flies to Miami and wins big at Gulfstream the next day which isn’t possible. Or they have a nice colt winning a big stakes race that only fillies can enter. One of my favorites was a very detailed description of a jockey putting his foot in the stirrups, grabbing the saddle horn and lifting himself on a horse in the paddock before a big race. It just doesn’t happen like that.

Sorry to get sidetracked, obviously this is a pet peeve on mine, so take it for what it is worth.

Good luck!