Less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma hit South Florida, local casinos are back to normal operations. Mardi Gras Casino, however, remains closed.
“A mini tornado hit the roof, opening a hole large enough to let the rain come in and soak the floors,” marketing director Ashley Foster says of the Hallandale Beach casino (831 N. Federal Highway, 954-924-3200, MGFLA.com).
The deluge ruined carpets throughout much of the 70,000-square-foot casino, which houses slot machines, the Big Easy Poker Room and restaurants.
“We have to completely replace the carpet in the slots floor, but the poker room carpet is not as bad,” Foster says. “We’ve got a good crew working on getting everything done as soon as possible.”
An assessment of the property, including the approximately 900 slot machines, is still being conducted.
Foster hopes the Big Easy will open in a couple of weeks. The slots floor may take months to repair.
No greyhounds were hurt by the storm, Foster says. Mardi Gras’ racing season doesn’t begin until December, so the dogs were not on the property.
With Mardi Gras closed indefinitely, more than 400 full-time and part-time employees — poker dealers, floor managers, bartenders, janitors and others — were temporarily laid off. As the casino comes back to life, many will get their jobs back, Foster says.
The weekend flea market in Mardi Gras’ parking lot is also closed. It’s scheduled to reopen when the casino does.
Calder Casino (21001 NW 27th Ave., Miami Gardens, 305-625-1311, CalderCasino.com) had the second greatest impact from Irma among South Florida casinos. Including pre- and post-hurricane, it was closed for eight days. But it reopened Friday, Sept. 15, with business as usual.
You still have time to register for the World Series of Poker Circuit, scheduled to begin Sept. 21 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, 800-937-0010, SeminoleHardRockHollywood.com) and end Oct. 2. The first of its 14 events is a no-limit hold ’em with a $580 buy-in and prize pool guaranteed at $500,000. It also has 34 satellite events with buy-ins ranging from $80 to $350. Register for each event at the poker cage. You have to be at least 18 to participate.
IT’S IN THE BAG
Comedian Tiffany Haddish performed Sept. 2 at the Casino at Dania Beach (301 E. Dania Beach Blvd., 954-920-1511, CasinoDaniaBeach.com), and afterward, the casino donated 20 duffel bags on her behalf to Kids in Distress, which helps foster children in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Haddish was a foster kid.
“The duffel bags come in handy to foster kids because they tend to move often and have little time to pack their possessions,” casino spokeswoman Sandra Rodriguez says.