Diamond Lotto is golden in South Florida

What makes South Florida slot floors different than the rest of the nation? Diamond Lotto.

The game consists of players choosing six numbers from 0 through 9 and then seeing if the numbers drawn are a match, making it very much like an instant Pick Six lottery game. (A Diamond symbol acts as a wild card, improving the odds.)

South Florida has a massive Hispanic population – especially Cubans, who grew up on a lottery game called “bolita”—so the game is something they know and can easily figure out.

Of the 450 games placed in the United States, 400 are in South Florida casinos.

Wade West, senior director of marketing at Calder Casino in Miami Gardens, said his casino started with about five machines. He moved to South Florida after working in Mississippi.

“Now we have about 50 on the floor,” he said. “I think people kind of get to help the determine outcome by selecting their numbers, like a lottery. You feel a little more in control.”

Slot manufacturer AGS first marketed the game to the Miccosukee Resort & Casino in west Miami-Dade. When the racetrack casinos came on board in South Florida, some casino officials, including former Gulfstream President Steve Calabro, scouted Miccosukee and saw their popularity. The company then sent machines to Gulfstream Park and everywhere else in South Florida, including Hialeah Park, where Calabro is now general manager.