New Florida Poker Room In Jacksonville Leads State In Revenues



The newest poker room that opened in Florida last month, Best Bet Jacksonville, has surpassed expectations by leading the state in revenues in its inaugural month of action.

According to the Florida Times-Union, Best Bet Jacksonville pulled in the most revenues for the month of March of the 24 poker rooms in the state. Times-Union writer Roger Bull reports that, during the month of March, Best Bet Jacksonville pulled in gross receipts of $1,328,261, eclipsing the Isle Casino and Racing poker room, which earned $1,304,344. In the state of Florida, the rake is 10% of a pot or a $5 maximum, demonstrating the popularity of the newest room in the Sunshine State.

Bull reports that the excellent month by Best Bet Jacksonville came at the expense of two other, older establishments in the area, however. The Orange Park poker room earned over $1 million in February, but saw its gross revenues fall to $616,000 in March. Likewise, the St. John’s poker room saw its gross revenues decline to $213,000 from its February take of $407,000. This won’t worry the ownership of Best Bet Jacksonville, Jacksonville Greyhound Racing, however; the group is the owner of all three poker rooms in the Jacksonville area.

“I think any time any company opens a new location, you’re going to see somewhat of a shift in business,” Bull quotes Michael Munz, a spokesman for Jacksonville Greyhound Racing, as saying. Bull also said that Munz is expecting that there will be some leveling of the numbers as the newness of the Best Bet Jacksonville facility wears off and some players head back to their familiar haunts.

The success of Best Bet Jacksonville shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone in the Florida area or the poker industry. With its 70 tables, Best Bet Jacksonville became the largest poker room in the state the moment that it opened its doors. In addition to offering a wealth of poker action, the 144,000 square foot facility also offers pari-mutuel betting on horse and greyhound racing, giving players something else to do while on the grounds.

According to Deborah Giardina, the poker room manager of Best Bet Jacksonville, the poker room is a boon to the Jacksonville area. In an interview last month with News4Jax.com, Giardina said the poker room employs 200 people, from dealers to floor staff and waitpersons, with the average job earning $50,000 per year. In addition to this employment influx, the surrounding area’s restaurants, gas stations, hotels and the other businesses in the Regency Square Mall (where Best Bet Jacksonville is located) should expect to see a rise in revenues also, according to Giardina.

The poker world will get its first impressions of Best Bet Jacksonville a little bit later this month. Following the conclusion of the Seminole Hard Rock Showdown in Hollywood next week, Best Bet Jacksonville will play host to the World Poker Tour. The WPT Best Bet Jacksonville Open will begin on April 27 with the first of two Day Ones. The $5000 event is expected to bring in many of the players that are currently in action at the Hard Rock and the tournament has placed a guarantee of a $1 million prize pool on this event.

The WPT Best Bet Jacksonville Open will be one of the events taped for broadcast during the Season Ten television schedule of the WPT and it is being given the full treatment from WPT officials. The tournament’s eventual champion will not only walk off with the inaugural title from the event but also will receive a seat to May’s WPT World Championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas and have their name etched onto the WPT Champions’ Cup, an honor that is only bestowed on full-fledged WPT championship tournament victors.

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