Crossover at gulfstream

Crossover at gulfstream

Blackjack is hitting South Florida pari-mutuels, but the dealer is on a TV monitor and there's an electronic board instead of chips.

Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Hallandale Beach began offering virtual blackjack Friday evening, shortly after the state signed off on its checklist of regulations, reports the Comtex news agency.

Five Blackjack players who can bet between $5 to $200 sit around a TV monitor in the new venue. The dealer on the screen then plays out the hand.

Earlier this year, the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering approved the offering of virtual blackjack, and Broward County's three state-supervised casinos started filing paperwork to add the facility.

Manufacturer Shuffle Master Inc. agreed to give Gulfstream the games first. The Isle Casino & Racing in Pompano Beach and Mardi Gras Gaming in Hallandale Beach plan to add them the week of December 21, officials from those casinos told Comtex.

Gulfstream Vice President Steve Calabro expects that each of the five seats at the four banks of machines will produce better profits than slot machines, which typically generate between $100 and $200 a day. The executive said he does not have big expectations, but virtual blackjack offers an innovate way to play that will appeal to clientele.

"It adds another spoke to our wheel," he said. Gulfstream gamblers who like the slots, horses and poker now have an additional option.

The new machines are called "Royal Match 21," because they offer side bets. If a player wagers $1 and is dealt king-queen of the same suit, for example, it pays $25.