Miami Gardens Opens South Florida's Largest Open-Air Gaming Space

The Backyard Casino is now open, both to the outdoor air and for business, in South Florida. Once part of Calder Racetrack, the now separate Miami Gardens Casino just opened the area's most massive open-air gaming space with 3,000-square-feet of outdoor gambling.

The area is open to both smokers and non-smoking guests. According to casino management, the Backyard Casino is a building, but it is a very minimal structure. It is connected to the main casino floor through a set of double doors that keep smoke out of the main indoor gaming space.

Critics accuse Miami Gardens of building the Backyard Casino as an elaborate way to get around Florida's Clean Indoor Air Act. Miami Gardens was quick to call out the competition for the same and even pointed fingers in their promotions for the new garden.

The promotion points out how other state racinos such as Pompano Beach opened covered patios back in 2010, but that the outdoor gaming near Calder racetrack is the largest in the area.

Miami Gardens is also taking heat for separating from the Calder Racetrack. In Florida, commercial casinos can only exist if they are attached to a racetrack, and Miami Gardens is now completely separated from Calder.

The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association (FHBPA) say the casino is in violation of state racino statutes and filed a complaint. The state Department of Administration will address the claim at a hearing this week. The DOA is expected to decide whether Miami Gardens has the right to keep a casino license now that it is physically and legally separated from Calder Racetrack.

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