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Seminoles Will Fork Out $100 Million this Year to Upgrade Hotel-Casinos

May 11, 2014 - 6:00pm

In case Floridians still question the demand for more destination resort casinos, they might want to note that the 500-room Seminole Hard Rock Hotel near Hollywood -- one of only two hotel-casinos in the Sunshine State -- apparently isn't big enough to supply demand.

The Seminoles have announced they are making "some upgrades and renovations."

On Friday, Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming, said during a ceremony marking the casino-hotel's 10th anniversary that the Hollywood facility runs at 98 percent capacity, and on Fridays and Saturdays it entertains more than 40,000 people.

Allen said the total outlay for 2014 for the tribe's seven properties will be $100 million.

He claims some of the money will go toward building a hotel next to the Immokalee casino and some will go toward adding a food court at the Seminole Classic casino in Hollywood.

The Sun-Sentinel reported that "a big chunk will be spent at the Seminole Hard Rock, with an improved entryway and center bar, pool upgrades, a new restaurant (to be named in a few weeks), updated hotel rooms and suites and the possible addition of more."

During the ceremony Allen said, "Heaven knows we need them."

According to financial reports, the tribe earned more than $2 billion in gambling revenues during the past 12 months. The hotel-casinos part of the take amounts to this: Seminole Hard Rock, about $600 million; Tampa Hard Rock, the only casino in Central Florida, about $900 million.

The Tampa Hard Rock, one of the biggest economic drivers for the Tampa Bay region, celebrated its 10th anniversary on March 11.

According to the July 5, 2013, Tampa Bay Business Journal, the Tampa Hard Rock was noted as the fifth largest private employer in 2013. The property currently employs more than 3,300 staff.

Prior to its $75 million expansion in 2012, the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa had a total impact of more than $533 million in annual expenditures. The expansion increased that economic total impact by $59 million, making the total impact $592 million in 2013.

The Seminoles claim the Tampa Hard Rock is the sixth largest casino in the world. They base that on the number of gaming positions, or seats at gaming tables, or slot machines. The casino floor is now bigger than five football fields combined.

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