Drummond acknowledges conflict of interest and Longwood Should Be Thrilled With Expansion Of Poker

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Richard Drummond was busy on Facebook this weekend. In a Facebook statement which outlined his 5 years as an employee of the Longwood Dog Track, and the track’s efforts to lobby the Longwood commission over the years, Richard Drummond acknowledged Saturday his presence on the Longwood commission would represent “conflict of interest” for Longwood voters.

Richard Drummond The Director Of Operations For The Dog Track Said The Following

Now to the real issue – a card room at SOKC. Let’s talk about it. Every racetrack in Florida has a card room except for SOKC. Why? Seminole County has an ordinance against the expansion of gambling. Mitch Cohen, the General Manger of SOKC, contacted the Longwood City Commissioners. He presented an email detailing the benefits of a card room in Longwood. Most communities would be thrilled their business wanted to expand in their city.

To circumvent the conflict of interest and accomplish his employer’s long-held agenda to expand gambling, Drummond appeared to support a citizen’s initiative, describing the effort as a decision which “must be given to the citizens.”

Richard Drummond was also critical of this publication, which has reported on dog racing PAC funding his campaign (link), calling the report “fake news.” Public records, however, show a maximum $1,000 contribution to the Drummond Campaign from the Central Florida Greyhound Association on August 31st. The OPO stands by our reporting.

We found the following email showing Drummond’s employer lobbying the Longwood Commision To Expand Poker

Mayor Durso and fellow Commissioners,

Attached you will see state-wide card room revenues July 2016 – May 2017. As you are aware, West Volusia Racing (Orange City Racing and Card Club) opened March 1st 2017.   In this short time frame Orange City has already established itself as the state’s sixth largest poker room with an average of $800,000 in monthly revenue and is on pace to generate nearly $9.0 million in revenue annually.  Regulated poker in the State of Florida is taxed at 10.0% of revenue which is split 50-50 between the Pari-Mutuel Trust Fund and General Fund.  Twenty five percent (25%) of the Pari-Mutuel Trust fund goes to local municipalities hosting a card room.    Annualized, Orange City can expect to receive over $100,000 annually for host a poker facility.Prior to West Volusia Racing opening Orange City wagering on Sanford Orlando Kennel Club’s (SOKC) live races for 2017 up 2.0%, on-track simulcast handle was up 1.0% and food and beverage sales were up 2.0%.   Since Orange City’s grand opening SOKC has seen a 3.0% decline in live racing handle, a 4.0% decline in simulcast handle and a 2.0% decline in food and beverage sales. We have noticed Orange City’s advertising and marketing efforts in our area is increasing and we are seeing more regular customers commenting on visits to that facility; both are worrisome trends going forward.

Even prior to the opening of Orange City a sizable amount of money was leaving Longwood and Seminole County and diverted to poker facilities 45 minutes to 90 minutes away, generating tax revenues and other ancillary revenues for other municipalities.   Now a poker facility is within 20 minutes of the doorsteps of SOKC.     In just a few short months Orange City has directly and negatively impacted our business at SOKC and unfortunately if it continues we could be forced to reduce hours for our employees and ultimately eliminate positions.

The benefits of a card room have been presented before and I bring them up once again to your attention: the potential for 100+ good paying  jobs benefiting local and regional residents;, $100,000+ in direct  tax revenues to the city of Longwood plus an increased valuation of the property, multi-million dollar private investment in extensive interior and exterior building improvements; positive impacts on existing local businesses and the potential of other businesses coming to Dog Track Road and the surrounding area giving Longwood an entertainment destination like none other in Seminole County.

I am available at any time to meet with you or your fellow Commissioners to further discuss the benefits of a card room at SOKC at your convenience.

Sincerely,

Mitch Cohen
General Manager – Sanford Orlando Kennel Club
301 Dog Track Rd
Longwood, FL 32750
Office: 407-831-1600  ext. 233

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