Don King fighting to bring casino to Palm Beach County

New legislation could allow slot machines

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Boxing promoter Don King is hoping a new court ruling will help his dream of turning the old jai-alai fronton in Mangonia Park into a casino-style resort.

Right now, 53 acres of the old jai-alai building are for sale, but King is hoping he'll be able to turn what's left into entertainment and jobs.

King's entire life has been built around promoting boxing champions, big business and big bucks.

"We must dedicate and commit ourselves to a better Florida," said King.

He says this 'better' Florida became possible after a Florida appeals court ruled last week that lawmakers can approve slots anywhere in the state.

"It's the Sunshine State, but we've been seeing a lot of darkness," said King.

King said the darkness is a stagnant job picture. The unemployment rate in Palm Beach County is at 11 percent.

"We want to remove the darkness and bring in the sun again and give the people the opportunity to earn in the greatest nation," said King.

He says if he could turn the old fronton into a casino resort, he would be able to bring at least 2,000 jobs to the county and Mangonia Park.

"We need money, we need jobs," he said.

This isn't King's first round with the county to try and make his dream a reality.

Mangonia Park councilman Addie Greene sat on the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners when King tried to turn the empty building into a casino-style resort once before.

Greene says because the property sits just a few miles from I-95 and on the last stop of the Tri-Rail system, the outlook of making millions is promising.

"Right next to West Palm Beach, right next to Riviera Beach, right next to I-95, right next to Tri-Rail. You can't think of a better spot," said Greene.

There are some homes near the old building, and residents there say they would be happy for the eyesore to be transformed.

"I used to work in it for 10 years, and it was a nice building," said homeowner Louise Pearce. "Now it's just rack and ruin sitting there. I would like them to do something with it."

Casino-style slots remain controversial despite the appeals court ruling, and there may be more efforts to try and knock the idea out of the legal arena. Meanwhile, King says he will try to enlist the support of another "Don" -- namely, Donald Trump -- to see his dream become a reality.

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