In Broward: Election, What Election?

The Seminole Casino is the older, smoke-filled joint across the street from the Hard Rock in Hollywood. When a slot or poker player is in the zone, it seems like gambling is their only care in the world. Not even one of the most exciting presidential elections in history could tear them away from the casino, right?

Don’t wager on it. Of the half dozen or so gamblers I approached on election day at the Seminole Casino, all but one had picked a horse in the race. They spoke semi-excitedly about their “sure-bet,” Barack Obama.

“We need change,” a middle-age white woman from Davie said. “I never saw so many black people voting before,” she added before lunging to slip her frequent player card into a suddenly vacant slot machine. No way is she going to lose a hot machine over some political small-talk.

A middle-age black man sitting near the poker tables said he voted early on Friday, out of fear that he’d be prevented from casting a ballot on Election Day. Better to catch any glitches early, he figured. But those two hours and 45 minutes standing in line sure were tough. As he wearied, a 70-year-old black lady behind him in the early voting line wagged her finger at him and lectured: “Our people before us had to go through a lot worse than this. So you just hold on.” He did. Now he gets to slide into a seat at the no-limits poker table.

A young black man said he headed to vote at 5:30 am so that he wouldn’t miss a poker promotion called Aces Cracked. I asked how long he waited.

“I’m still waiting.”

“To vote?”

“Nooo, for a poker table.”

Okay, so maybe, for these folks, a thrilling presidential race can’t compete after all with the enticement of poker bonuses and free spins on slot machines lit up like carnival rides.

-- Amy Guthrie




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