You should be able to follow this one fairly easily:
The average slot player is at least 50 years old.
In addition to slots, casinos like to offer entertainment, including music.
The new casino at Dania Beach will focus on classic rock, with some comedy thrown in.
The first ticketed act, Jefferson Starship, is set for Feb. 27 at the Casino at Dania Beach, which opened last month and features Stage 954, a concert hall with 850 seats. Foreigner and Air Supply are booked later this spring.
The Havenick family owns one-fourth of what is officially titled the Casino @ Dania Beach, which they bought in 2014 after converting their Flagler Dog Track into Magic City Casino in Miami in 2011. Magic City Casino features Stage 305 and classic rock and other entertainment – a model officials say they are copying in Dania Beach. (You see, 305 is the main area code in Miami-Dade and 954…)
“We want our casinos to offer a whole day of entertainment,” CEO Scott Savin said. “Our whole approach at Dania is for visitors to come in, go to a concert, watch some jai-alai and play some slots.”
Because he now oversees two venues, Savin says he can offer bands more lucrative deals, and book them for two nights – one in Broward County and one in Miami-Dade.
“Since we first opened Magic City Casino, we’ve said that we’ve wanted to focus on music, especially classic rock,” Savin said. “But this way we can now make it worth their while.”
For example, Jefferson Starship will first play at Magic City on Friday, Feb. 26. Quick reminder here: This is a retooling of the band that launched in 1965 as Jefferson Airplane, when the term “psychedelic rock” ascended, only to quickly dissipate. Jefferson Starship came together in 1974 and went on to produce such songs as “Jane,” “White Rabbit” and “Count on Me.” They’re dealing with some grief currently: Jefferson Airplane co-founder and Starship mainstay Paul Kantner died Jan. 28 at age 74.)
Savin said other music acts will perform free shows, including local bands on Fridays and Saturdays on a smaller stage, near the slot machines. Smash Mouth will play a free show at Stage 954 on March 5.
Stage 954 was built almost from scratch and is part of the casino’s $60 million makeover. In the old days of Dania Jai-Alai (before slots), patrons watched jai-alai matches from more than 5,000 auditorium seats, while poker games quietly took place on a remote spot on the second floor. That second-floor spot, with a separate entryway and imposing doors, is where Stage 954 is now.
The casino is the last of four horse tracks, dog tracks and jai-alai frontons – called pari-mutuels – to expand into a casino with slots, and is almost 10 years behind everyone else. Gulfstream Park, Mardi Gras Casino and the Isle Casino and Racing all had slots by 2007. But catching up on music offerings has already happened: Mardi Gras and the Isle have about five ticketed concerts per year and Gulfstream has none.
The casino has opened a quick-service deli, Toaster’s and Roasters, near the poker room. A high-end buffet, Luxe, is planned to open near the end of February, when the grand opening is set.
Gary Puckett & The Union Gap are booked for Saturday at Dania but not Friday at Magic City Casino. Signature hits include “Young Girl,” “Lady Willpower” and “Woman Woman,” all from 1967-74.
Hey, we said all along the theme for these shows is Classic Rock.
Jefferson Starship, with Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, at 8 p.m. Feb. 27. Tickets are $35-$55
Smash Mouth, 8 p.m. March 5. Free.
Foreigner, 8 p.m. March 11. Tickets are $40-$100.
Ralphie May, 9 p.m. March 18. Tickets are $40.
Gabriel Iglesias, 9 p.m. April 1. Tickets are $40.
Air Supply, 8 p.m. April 16. Tickets are $35-$90.
There also are VIP tables for four, usually at $100 per person. The casino is at 301 E. Dania Beach Blvd. Get ticket info at DaniaCasino.com or for Stage 305 go to MagicCityCasino.com.