Slots get go-ahead at Pompano Park

Gamblers will soon have three spots to play Las Vegas-style slot machines in Broward County.

The Isle of Capri Racino at Pompano Park harness track received its state slots license today, and racino managers hope to open the doors by the end of March.

„I can’t tell you how thrilled I am,“ said Doug Shipley, corporate vice president of racino operations for Isle of Capri.

Today’s approval prompted the racino to initiate shipment of 1,500 machines — the maximum allowed under state law — in popular models like „Double Diamond“ and „Wheel of Fortune.“

“We contacted all the slot manufacturers, and they are shipping machines as we speak,“ Shipley said. „We expect to receive the slot machines next week.“

The company will have to set up the slot systems, continue hiring and training the 800 employees needed to run the facility and undergo further state tests.

The company spent more than USD 150 million on construction of the facility, which will include four restaurants and a poker room.

Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino opened in November with 516 machines and is moving forward with plans to install 700 more. Late today, Gulfstream named a new president and general manager, promoting Bill Murphy from head of racing operations. Former boss Paul Micucci becomes gaming vice president at Gulfstream’s parent, Magna Entertainment.

Last month, Mardi Gras Racetrack and Gaming Center, also in Hallandale Beach, unveiled 1,147 slot machines in the New Orleans-themed building.

Broward voters agreed nearly two years ago to allow slot machines at parimutuel venues.

Dania Jai-Alai, which is undergoing a major renovation and does not expect to open its casino complex until 2008, has not received its license from the state.