Trump Casino Dream Dashed in Florida as Doral Votes to Ban Gambling

The city of Doral, Florida, has voted to ban gambling, dashing the prospect of a casino at the former president's golf resort there.

The Doral city council voted 4-0 on Wednesday to ban gambling and casinos from the city unless they were approved by the city's residents in a referendum, the Miami Herald reported.

The move comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally, agreed a $500 million gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe that would allow the former president to build a casino at his Trump National Doral Miami Resort, which is run by his son Eric Trump.

The Doral city council approved an emergency ordinance banning casinos within the city limits in May. Wednesday's vote passed the same legislation on a non-emergency basis.

"We wanted to make sure we weighed in," Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez told the Herald ahead of the vote. "We will take whatever steps necessary."

Eric Trump has been pushing for the struggling Doral resort to be turned into a casino to boost revenue.

Trump Doral
A sign is seen near the front entrance to the Trump National Doral golf resort owned by U.S. President Donald Trump's company on October 17, 2019 in Doral, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

He told The Washington Post in March that Doral "would be a natural choice" for a gambling license.

"Many people consider Trump Doral to be unmatched from a gaming perspective—at 700 acres, properties just don't exist of that size and quality in South Florida, let alone in the heart of Miami," he said.

The Trump Organization has been contacted for comment.

Bloomberg News reported that Doral resort's income had fallen by $57 million last year compared to 2015, prompting 560 workers on the property to be laid off or furloughed.

DeSantis' deal with the Seminole Tribe, approved by the Florida Senate last month, bars the tribe from objecting to gambling licenses to venues more than 15 miles away from the tribe's Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The Doral resort is around 18 miles away, according to the Herald.

At a bill signing last week, DeSantis hit back at criticism that the gambling compact was designed to benefit Trump or Jeffrey Soffer, the owner of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior urging the government to reject the gambling deal.

Gelder noted that several investigative reports "make clear that Florida Governor DeSantis and representatives of the Seminole Tribe were not the sole parties to these extensive and closed-door negotiations."

"In fact, they included representatives of casino interests in my community, including the owners of the Fontainebleau Hotel and the Trump National Doral hotel.

"During the runup to the consideration of the Florida Compact by the Legislature, these interests and others, poured enormous amounts of funds into campaign coffers, PAC's and other financial vehicles of the Governor and the Legislature. These same interests, according to news accounts, provided gifts in the form of plane trips, parties on yachts and other non-monetary contributions to state officials including Governor DeSantis."

"That is just pure, idiotic politics," DeSantis said, when asked about Gelber's letter, according to the Herald. "Some of these partisan politicians are always trying to elevate themselves with any cheap headline they can get, trying to inject Trump into this."