Action Gambling in South Florida with Nick Sortal
Mardi Gras' burger day Sunday

Burger gluttons and burger connoisseurs will have an outlet Sunday at Mardi Gras Casino.

The inaugural Hamburger Slider Square Off burger consumption contest is set for 1 p.m. at the Hallandale Beach casino. Hosted by Krystal (hint: they make square burgers) and hosted by Big 105.9's Doc Reno, the competition will award someone the title Top Burger Beast, $1,000 in cash and a trophy. Entry is $10 with sign-up due by May 29 at the casino's player's club.

Meanwhile, from noon to 4 p.m., the fifth annual Burger Beast National Hamburger Month Food Truck Competition will decide which food truck serves the best burger. Other specialty food vendors will be on site. Both events will take place near the shaded main entrance to the casino at 831 N. Federal Highway. Get more info at

The three-car giveaway will climax Saturday at Calder Casino and Race Course (21001 NW 27th Ave., Miami Gardens, 305-625-1311, The cars are a Chevy Camaro, Equinox and Malibu,...

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Florida shifts money away from compulsive-gambling treatment

For compulsive gamblers seeking treatment, Florida is an unfortunate place to be.

Since 2011, the state has taken money intended to help problem gamblers and spent it elsewhere, allocating as little as $264,000 to the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling from an available $1.75 million fund. For the fiscal year ending May 31, the council's budget is $930,000.

"I apologize on behalf of the state," Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, told gambling addiction counselors and recovering gamblers last week at the 18th annual conference of the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, held at the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale.

South Florida's eight racetrack casinos are required to contribute $250,000 each to fund a compulsive gambling program. The Seminole Tribe of Florida, which operates seven casinos throughout the state, contributes another $1.75 million, marked specifically for treatment. What money the state doesn't divert to its general budget, it gives to the council to operate a gambling...

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Your interactive guide to South Florida casino venues
Big events at Hard Rock, Isle; Free-roll at Mardi Gras

The two largest poker rooms in South Florida will have 11 a.m. tournaments on Memorial Day and then there's a free event at Mardi Gras Casino.

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino's Holiday Deep Stack event guarantees $30,000 in total prize money. Buy-in is $250, and players start with 20,000 in chips. That gives you enough to lose a hand or two without having to panic.

The Isle Casino and Racing in Pompano Beach's $100 buy-in tournament spreads some of the cash around. It's a $25 bounty tournament, meaning every player you knock out earns you $25 no matter how you fare in the tournament. There's also a $20,000 guarantee. Players start with 15,000 in chips.

Meanwhile, another $10,000 free-poker tournament is set for 7 p.m. Sunday at Mardi Gras Casino. The first such tourney, held April 18, drew 179 total players.

Those wishing to enter May 24 can pick up tickets starting at 10 a.m. the day of the tournament. They must have a player's club card.

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Five chances to drive away

Memorial Day weekend is a time to reflect, grill with friends and, apparently, give away cars, trucks and cash. Five South Florida casinos have car or truck promotions this weekend, while two others have big loot going out.

At 10 p.m. Saturday, the Isle Casino and Racing (777 Isle of Capri Circle, Pompano Beach, 954-972-2000, gives away a Chevrolet Traverse. At 6:30 p.m. Sunday, the casino will hold a Memorial Day salute at the track. The U.S. Marine Corps will present the colors, followed by a big band concert at 7 p.m. and fireworks at 8:30 p.m. Call 954-383-2285.

Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino (901 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, also has a car giveaway, but that has been pretty standard on Sundays this year. This time, the car is a Honda Civic at 10 p.m.

Casino Miami (3500 NW 37th Ave., Miami, 305-633-6400, gives away a Chrysler 200 Limited at 10 p.m. Sunday as part of a big weekend. Carlos Manual plays at...

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Fitch forecaster: Young people gamble, just differently

 Younger people are visiting casinos, but their focus is less on slots. And that's going to require some adjustment for the industry, notes Alex Bumazhny, director of gambling, lodging and leisure at Fitch Ratings.

 Fitch is a nationally recognized statistical rating organization, like Moody's and Standard and Poor's.

 Bumazhny wrote an almost must-read on the industry, and it's posted at their site, called The Why Forum.

 His point is that as millennials become a more important piece of the picture, we'll see some changes.

 One that isn't moving as quickly as one might think, though, is online gambling, which Fitch predicted would have modest interest, but the actual action has fallen even below their forecasts. Daily fantasy sports, though is an exception, and matches the millennials' tastes.

 Bumazhny also wrote that while millennials like casinos, more of the money is spent on entertainment and food and beverage, rather than slots (where casinos really make their money), and prefer...

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