January 15, 2024 2 min read


Fontainebleau Miami’s Owner Donates to Lawmakers for Casino Push

A new report suggests that the owner of Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Jefferey Soffer, donated more than $300,000 to politicians and PACs last year

Back in 2017, Miami Beach banned casinos. This happened after a vote of the city commission that unanimously prohibited casinos and other gambling venues within the city limits. Yet, for years, gambling operators have continued to attempt to expand their presence to the lucrative seaside city and some lawmakers are also considering proposals that may pave the way for such an expansion.

A recent report released by Miami Herald, reveals that Jeffrey Soffer, Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s billionaire owner, completed a number of donations to state politicians. Reportedly, the billionaire anticipates that the donations will help him finally open a casino within the famous seaside hotel. Citing data from financial reports, the publication reveals that Soffer and organizations related to him, donated more than $300,000 last year with recipients of the donations including political action committees (PACs) as well as legislators within Miami-Dade County.

The described donations came before the new legislative session which is expected to continue for two months after starting last week. Currently, there are identical bills that may be up for debate, proposing the possibility of transferring existing gaming licenses to new locations within 30 miles. The proposals which are expected to overrule local regulations may pave the way for casino gambling in Miami Beach.

One way this can be achieved is by Soffer transferring the gaming permit from its Big Easy Casino located in Hallandale Beach to Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The billionaire and Fontainebleau Miami Beach owner acquired Big Easy Casino back in 2018. Since then, he has made more than $2.5 million in donations through Big Easy and other related companies.

Efforts to Bring Casino Gambling to Miami Beach Continue

A breakdown of the most recent donations reveals that Soffer, through related companies, donated $25,000 in June to the Florida Senatorial Republican Campaign Committee. He was also reportedly tied to a $50,000 donation to the Republican Party of Florida dating back to September. Moreover, PACs controlled by eight Republican lawmakers across Miami-Dade received $10,000 each in donations from organizations tied to Soffer.

Despite the donations and possible efforts, the future of casino gambling in Miami Beach remains uncertain. According to John Sowinski, the president of No Casinos, an anti-gambling group, efforts to bring casino gambling to Miami Beach have been going on for years. “Miami Beach is among the most anti-casino jurisdictions anywhere in Florida because they’ve so often been the target for a casino,” he explained.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *