If only every town in Florida had a casino. Then our little tykes in need might have some Christmas dough to spend and sports teams to join.
The lucky little ones in Hallandale Beach have Gulfstream Park, the horse racetrack and casino. Although they're not yet old enough to play poker or tug on the one-armed bandit at Gulfstream, these kids can do what few of us can:reap the riches of the gambling gods.
That's because Gulfstream is a major contributor to the Hallandale Beach Police Athletic League. Thanks in part to donations from the racino, participation in the five-year-old Hallandale Beach PAL has gone from 200 kids to more than 1,000.
The police officers involved in the local PAL are so stoked that they nominated Gulfstream as the PAL "community corporation of the year." Folks at the state-level agreed that the racino's contributions are stellar, so come January, Gulfstream will receive a statewide PAL award.
Here's what Gulfstream gave:
- $3,500 in 2007 and again in 2008 for PAL's annual winter holiday "Shop with a Cop" program
- $10,000 in concession stand equipment to churn out hot dogs, nachos, popcorn -- the works
- A professional boxing ring (worth $25,000)
- A 15-passenger van ($25,000) to transport kids to athletic events, plus $12,000 to cover operating expenses for the vehicle
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"Gulfstream has gone above and beyond," says Major Kenneth Cowley, a spokesman for the Hallandale Beach PAL. "They're just a good partner with the city. They care about the community, they care about the kids of the community."
"We need to help the pari-mutuels because they are helping their communities, you follow me? That's just my personal opinion."
Wow. To think that only a few decades have passed since U.S. authorities ran Meyer Lansky, the gambling magnate/gangster pictured below, out of Hallandale.
-- Amy Guthrie