Sports Betting Complex Coming to Fort Myers, Naples Area of Florida?

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:

A sports betting venue in Bonita Springs, Florida, broke ground on Tuesday (March 29, 2022).  The location is between Fort Myers and Naples on the West Coast and is a concept developed by Magic City Casino and PBS Contractors.

Sports Challenge America is planned on about 5 acres between the Bonita Springs Poker Room and the former dog track.

The local venture will be owned and operated by Miami-based Magic City Casino, which owns the nearly 100 acres on the southeast corner of Bonita Beach Road and Old 41 Road.  The property already features a poker room.

It will feature 10,400-square-feet of space encompassing six bowling lanes and five sports simulators for virtual sports such as golf and tennis. The exterior portion of the facility will include a par-3 golf hole where participants wager on each other as to whether they can make a hole-in-one to win a certain amount of money.

“So, everything here is betting on yourself, wagering on your own talent,” Mario Valle, senior relationship manager for PBS Contractors, said.

“There’s no other facility like this in the United States. There’s no other facility like this, period. This is the first of its kind,” said David Minton, project manager for Naples-based PBS Contractors. 

The Sports Challenge America concept is the brainchild of Scott Savin, chief operating officer of Magic City Casino.

“The company thinks that it’s going to be able to take off and be placed around the country,” Valle said. “So, they have the intellectual property rights on the type of approach that’s being placed here. So, they’re going to see how this goes and possibly take it further.” 

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Magic City Casino parent company, West Flagler Associateds, was a plaintiff in a case that prevented the Seminoles from launching a real money online sports betting app in the Sunshine State.

A federal judge rejected a gaming compact that would have permitted the Seminole Tribe of Florida to offer online sports betting, effectively halting the practice in the state. 

“This decision does not foreclose other avenues for authorizing online sports betting in Florida,” Judge Dabney Friedrich wrote in the Nov. 22 order. “The State and the Tribe may agree to a new compact, with the Secretary’s approval, that allows online gaming solely on Indian lands. Alternatively, Florida citizens may authorize such betting across their State through a citizens’ initiative.”

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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