Miami Businesses Balk at Poker Room Proposal in Their Neighborhood

Business owners in Miami's Edgewater district balked at the idea of a poker room in their neighborhood. The offending news reached them this week when the owners of Magic City Casino received state approval to build a poker and jai alai facility in the up-and-coming district.

Residents and business owners in Edgewater pride themselves on the rising property values in their area. Once a seedy part of the Miami area, the neighborhood is now known as a bustling cultural center bolstered by the prestige of the Design District along with its proximity to downtown.

Those who are the most protective of the neighborhood believe the poker room will attract crime, degenerates, and be bad for businesses. Area property developer Jorge Preez vowed to do anything in his power to oppose, block, and kill the prospective poker room.

Could Perez and other poker room opponents be overreacting? Many of them refer to the incoming business as a “casino,” when in reality it is far less impressive. If the locals are expecting glitz, gangsters and flashing lights they are likely to be disappointed by the math nerds that show up to play poker on their block.

One Edgewater resident, Isadore “Izzy” Havenick, has a solid grasp on just how blasé the poker room will be. Havenick says the facility will offer poker – a casual form of entertainment in an area already filled with similar options. As the vice president of West Flagler, the owner of Magic City Casino, Havenick has a deep understanding of the difference between a casino and a poker room.

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