Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin buys Miami casino

Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin is expanding his gaming footprint to the East coast.

The Strip billionaire snapped up a casino near downtown Miami after Florida voters passed an amendment last month that could halt new gaming developments in the state.

Ruffin, 83, bought the 200,000-square-foot Casino Miami, he said in a statement Wednesday. It is his first gaming acquisition in a decade. Ruffin did not disclose the price, but the property most recently sold in $2014 for $155 million.

“I look forward to entering the Miami gaming market through this acquisition. We have exciting plans for Casino Miami that we will be revealing in the near future,” said Ruffin.

Casino Miami sits on 21 acres of developable land and currently features 1,012 slot machines and electronic table games. The property generated $68 million in gross gaming last year and $60 million over the first 10 months of 2018, according to UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research.

Casino Miami also features a live entertainment space, bar, café dining area, live jai-alai games and simulcast betting.

Ruffin’s spokeswoman Michelle Knoll said the billionaire intends to build a hotel on property without giving more details. Miami is a top U.S. tourist destination with 16 million overnight visitors in 2017, according to a report by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Amendment 3

Ruffin’s purchase comes just a month after voters in Florida approved Amendment 3 that gives them the right to authorize casino expansion across the state. Previously, that right was held by the state legislature.

The amendment, supported by Disney and the Seminole Tribe, will make it harder to expand gaming in the state, increasing the value of existing gaming licenses.

Ruffin “had been interested in the Florida gaming market for quite some time. When this property came available, he felt that it met his financial parameters for acquisition. This purchase became even more valuable with the Florida law that will seriously impair the issuance of future gaming licenses,” Knoll said.

Casino Miami is one of just eight commercial casino properties operating in Florida. The state also has casinos run by the Seminole Tribe.

The commercial casinos generated $547 million in net gaming revenues last year, up 17 percent from 2014, according to Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.

The commercial casinos are limited to a maximum 2,000 gaming machines each and are required to pay an annual licensing fee of $2 million plus a $250,000 regulatory fee to help fund Florida’s compulsive gambling program.

Decade Pause

Ruffin entered the Las Vegas gaming industry when he purchased the New Frontier in 1998 for $167 million. He would make Strip history when he sold the property in 2007 for $1.2 billion.

The timing was impeccable, coming at the top of the market.

The billionaire then used some of that cash to buy Treasure Island in December 2008 from MGM Resorts International as the worst economic downturn in decades threatened to bankrupt the company.

Ruffin also owns 50 percent of Trump International Hotel Las Vegas.

Contact Todd Prince at 702-383-0386 or tprince@reviewjournal.com. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

Business Videos
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA/Boring Company Press Conference
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced a collaboration with Elon Musk's The Boring Company to develop and operate an autonomous people mover system for the Las Vegas Convention Center District.
International Pizza Expo includes green and gluten free
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included companies focused on vegan and gluten free, and plant-based pizza boxes. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo kicks off in Las Vegas
The first day of the International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center is everything Pizza. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
T-Mobile program aids guests with sensory needs
A program at T-Mobile Arena is designed to provide a more sensory friendly experience for guests.
Photo Booth Expo
Danielle May talks about how Simple Booth transformed her Volkswagen bus into a business.
Nevada Gaming Commission's highest fines
The highest fines assessed by the Nevada Gaming Commission, according to commission Chairman Tony Alamo: 1) Wynn Resorts Ltd., $20 million, 2019 2) CG Technology (then known as Cantor G&W Holdings), $5.5 million, 2014 3) The Mirage, $5 million ($3 million fine, $2 million compensatory payment), 2003 4) Stardust, $3 million, 1985 5) Santa Fe Station, $2.2 million ($1.5 million fine, $700,000 compensatory payment), 2005 6) Las Vegas Sands, $2 million, 2016 7) CG Technology, $1.75 million, 2018 8) CG Technology, $1.5 million (also $25,000 in escrow for underpaid patrons), 2016 9) Caesars Entertainment, $1.5 million, 2015 10) Imperial Palace, $1.5 million, 1989 11) Peppermill Casinos, $1 million, 2014
Tiny Pipe Home vs Shipping Crate
A Tiny pipe home was displayed at the International Builders Show this week in Las Vegas.
Auto repair shortage affects Las Vegas
The auto repair industry is facing a national shortage of workers.
Franchising industry booming
Experts say Las Vegas is a hotbed for the franchise industry.
Africa Love owner talks about his store in Las Vegas
Mara Diakhate, owner of Africa Love, gift and decor store, talks about his store in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer gets approval to build homes at Bonnie Springs
The Clark County Planning Commission has approved a plan to build 20 homes on the site of Bonnie Springs Ranch. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dig This opens new location In Las Vegas
Remember when you were a kid and played with construction toys in the sand box? Dig This Las Vegas has the same idea, except instead of toy bulldozers, you get to play with the real thing. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Town Square developer Jim Stuart building again in Las Vegas
Las Vegas’ real estate bubble took developers on a wild ride, something Jim Stuart knows all too well. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Salon opens at Veterans Village
T.H.E. Salon, owned by Nicole Christie, celebrated their opening at the Veterans Village with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Southwest Airlines considering Las Vegas-Hawaii flights
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly says the airline is "very focused" on Hawaii. Hawaiians have a strong presence in Las Vegas.The city’s unofficial status is “Hawaii’s ninth island.” In 2018, at least 2,958 people from Hawaii moved to Nevada. Of those, 88.7 percent moved into Clark County, according to driver license surrender data. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 310,249 people came to Las Vegas from Hawaii in 2018.
Fewer Nevadans are celebrating Valentine's Day
Fewer Nevadans are celebrating Valentine's Day. About 1.2 million Nevadans are expected to celebrate this year, a 5 percent drop from 2018. A growing number of people consider Valentine’s Day over-commercialized. Others weren’t interested in the holiday or had nobody to celebrate with. But spending is expected to rise. Those who do celebrate are buying for more people. The average American is expected to spend about $162 this year for Valentine’s Day, a 57 percent jump from a decade prior. Katherine Cullen, director of industry and consumer insights at NRF
Foreclosures of mansions in Las Vegas
Las Vegas was ground zero for America's foreclosure crisis after the housing bubble burst. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rick Helfenbein talks about the impact of tariffs on the clothing industry
MAGIC fashion convention showcases men's clothing trends
The MAGIC fashion convention has come to Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to showcase some of the hottest clothing trends for men. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Allegiant Air flight attendants learn how to handle a water landing
Field instructor Ashleigh Markel talks about training prospective flight attendants for Allegiant Air getting live training with a raft for a water landing at the Heritage Park Aquatic Complex in Henderson on Monday. (John Hornberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks about the new Smith & Wollensky restaurant coming to the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks about the new Smith & Wollensky restaurant coming to the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery talks about Las Vegas return
Michael Feighery, CEO of Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, discusses the restaurant's upcoming return to the Las Vegas Strip.
Apartments to Come to Hughes Center
Developer Eric Cohen discusses his current building project at the Hughes Center office park in Las Vegas, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Stratosphere to rebrand to The STRAT
The Stratosphere, a 1,150-foot-tall property in Las Vegas will be renamed The STRAT Hotel, Casino and Skypod.
Local designers’ picks for the Las Vegas Market
The trends that local interior designers are noticing at the Las Vegas Market this year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trends in bath products at Las Vegas Market
Camille Herd, the showroom manager for European Bath Kitchen Tile & Stone, talks about the popularity of free-standing bath tubs. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing