Miami-Dade County is refusing to back down from its bid to install slot machines at Miami International Airport, with the matter now apparently headed to court.
Last month, state regulators rejected the county's attempt to secure a quarter-horse parimutuel permit that could have paved the way for slots to be installed at MIA passenger terminals. The state cited a variety of reasons, including the county's failure to qualify as a "person" under state licensing laws.
MIA has turned to slots as one way to help meet its skyrocketing operational costs, which recently reached $600 million a year and are expected to swell to $1.1 billion by 2015.
County leaders estimate that Vegas-style slots, which would be limited to the area beyond security checkpoints, could bring in $17 million or more a year.
To keep the slots proposal alive, the county last week filed a legal appeal of the state's rejection, which sets the stage for a future hearing in front of an administrative law judge.
In an e-mail to county commissioners, County Attorney Robert Cuevas Jr. wrote "this action will preserve the rights of the County."
The appeal, filed Thursday, disputes the facts cited by the state's Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering when it shot down the airport's gaming application. In addition, the county claims it was subjected to a different set of rules than previous parimutuel permit applicants.