Seminole Tribe Of Florida

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is the exclusive casino gambling operator in the state. The operation started when the tribe opened the first high-stakes bingo hall and casino in the Sunshine State in 1979. Bingo quickly became the biggest source of income for the Seminole Tribe.

After the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) was passed in 1988 to regulate the conduct of gaming on tribal land, the tribe set up casinos on its Hollywood, Immokalee, and Tampa reservations. In 1999, the Seminoles broke ground on its Coconut Creek and Brighton casinos.

Expansion continued in 2004, as the tribe opened two Hard Rock properties in Florida.

Now, the Seminole Tribe operates six full-service casinos located throughout the state. Adding to its power, the tribe in 2007 acquired the Hard Rock International franchise.

The latest boom, though, came courtesy of the Seminoles agreeing to a renegotiated gaming compact with the state of Florida. This deal could bring more games to casinos as well as authorize legal retail sports betting and online sportsbooks in Florida.

Seminole casinos in Florida

The Seminole Tribe operates six casinos throughout Florida. Two of the properties share the Hard Rock brand that is owned by the Tribe. The other four Florida casinos are branded as Seminole properties.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood opened its doors for the first time in 2004. The property is located in South Broward County on the east coast of Florida between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. This has become one of the most popular casinos for both tourists visiting Florida and residents of the Sunshine State.

The Seminole Tribe has not rested on its laurels with the property, though. In 2019, the casino revealed a massive $1.5 billion expansion. The result was more gaming space, dining options, and nightlife at the casino. The calling card of the property now is the new hotel tower. The 450-foot tall, guitar-shaped hotel is already iconic and has been featured in music videos.

Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood features about 3,100 video poker and slot machines. There are nearly 200 table games and a 45-table poker room on nearly three acres of gaming space.

The casino also offers the following live dealer table games:

  • Blackjack
  • Blackjack Switch
  • Casino War
  • Criss Cross Poker
  • Double Draw Poker
  • Face Up Pai Gow
  • I Luv Suits Poker
  • Let It Ride
  • Mini-baccarat
  • Mississippi Stud Poker
  • Spanish 21
  • Super 4 Progressive Blackjack
  • Three Card poker
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em

There are electronic versions of craps and roulette located on the casino floor since live dealer versions of the games aren’t legal at this time.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

Originally opened as just a casino in 2003 on the west coast of Florida, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa integrated a hotel a year later. After expansions in 2007 and 2012, the casino floor at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa has 245,000 square feet of gaming space.

The property has multiple gaming areas featuring a wide variety of slot machines and table games in different environments. The 26,000 square-foot mezzanine gaming area is non-smoking and offers more than 500 slot machines and 15 table games.

The expansion area in the casino has 33,000 square feet of gaming with more than 800 slot machines and 32 live dealer blackjack tables. Additionally, there’s a high-limit table games room and the Jubao Palace Asian table games room.

Between all of the gaming spaces, Seminole Hard Rock Tampa offers the following live dealer games:

  • Asia Poker
  • Blackjack
  • Blazing 7’s Blackjack (side bet)
  • Casino War
  • Criss Cross Poker
  • Double Draw Poker
  • Double Exposure Blackjack
  • Four Card Poker
  • I Luv Suits Poker
  • Let It Ride
  • Mini Baccarat
  • Mississippi Stud Poker
  • One Card Blackjack
  • Pai Gow Poker
  • Pai Gow Tiles
  • Spanish 21
  • Three Card Poker
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’Em

Some of the table games, such as Four Card Poker, Let It Ride, and Mississippi Stud, offer linked progressive jackpot side bets.

The property has more than 10 dining options along with a food court with even more eateries to grab a quick meal. The 1,500-seat Hard Rock Events Center is a major entertainment venue for touring musicians. This Las Vegas-style casino also offers a great pool and spa.

Seminole Casino Coconut Creek

Seminole Casino Coconut Creek is more of a casino for Florida locals than tourists. The property does not offer a hotel, which may be a reason it appeals more to local guests. Tourists can stay at numerous nearby hotels if they’re looking for a different casino experience than the Hard Rock properties.

The casino first opened with just 900 slot machines in 2000 and has since expanded. Seminole Casino Coconut Creek now offers 2,000 slot machines, a live poker room with 20 tables, and more than 65 live table games. Players will find the following table games at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek:

  • Blackjack
  • Baccarat
  • Casino War
  • Criss Cross Poker
  • Mississippi Stud Poker
  • Pai Gow Poker
  • Three Card Poker
  • Spanish 21
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’Em

There are also five different live blackjack progressive jackpots.

Level2 of the casino and The Pavilion offer non-smoking sections at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.

The casino offers dining options for all budgets. NYY Steak is the premier fine dining restaurant at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek. The property also has more budget-friendly dining options like 1st Street Deli and Sunset Grill.

Depending on the evening, guests can find live entertainment at Sunset Grill, Legends Lounge and Nectar.

Seminole Classic Casino Hollywood

Seminole Classic Casino is a relatively modest property compared with its sister casinos. When it opened in 1979, it was the country’s first large-stakes bingo hall. Today, Seminole Classic Casino has a 73,500-square-foot casino with about 1,000 slot machines, live table games, modest dining options, and a couple of bars.

Seminole Classic Casino focuses its space on the more popular live dealer table games:

  • Blackjack
  • Casino War
  • Criss Cross Poker
  • Double Draw Poker
  • Mini Baccarat
  • Mississippi Stud Poker
  • Spanish 21
  • Three Card Poker
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’Em

Located in Hollywood, near Seminole Hard Rock, Seminole Classic Casino offers a less glitzy experience for local Floridians. Fort Lauderdale residents tend to make this their casino option for that reason.

Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee

Settled in the southwest part of Florida near Fort Myers, Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee features a casino floor with over 1,400 slot machines and 38 live table games.

The upscale hotel has 19 suites and 81 deluxe rooms. Guests can gamble on the casino floor, relax by the pool, grab a bite in one of the restaurants, and party at the lounge. Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee offers a 360-degree experience for those looking for a little rest and relaxation in the Sunshine State.

The casino has a great variety of table games for a property of its size:

  • Blackjack
  • Blackjack Switch
  • Double Deck Pitch Blackjack
  • Face Up Pai Gow
  • Let It Ride
  • Midi Baccarat
  • Mini Baccarat
  • Mississippi Stud Poker
  • Pai Gow Poker
  • Spanish 21
  • Three Card Poker
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’Em

The casino offers Roll To Win Craps and Electronic Roulette since the traditional live dealer games aren’t allowed in Florida at this time.

The property has three restaurants to choose from as well as many bars and lounges. Guests can visit the Seminole Center for larger concert events with national touring performers.

Seminole Casino Brighton

Seminole Casino Brighton is a 27,000-square-foot casino. It’s quite small compared with the other casinos operated by the Seminole Tribe. The Brighton property offers 400 slot machines, high-stakes bingo, live dealer blackjack, and Three Card Poker.

The casino does not have an attached hotel and only has one place to grab a meal: Josiah Restaurant. There are a number of hotels and even an RV Park for those looking to spend the night. Bus rides are available to and from a variety of towns.

Will the Seminole Tribe offer legal sports betting in Florida?

Sports betting is not currently legal in Florida. That could change in the near future, however, as Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a renegotiated compact with the Seminole Tribe that was ratified by Florida lawmakers and sent along to the US Department of the Interior.

The 30-year agreement would allow for the tribe to set up retail sportsbooks on tribal land and to partner with off-reservation pari-mutuels that could leverage the Seminole’s platform to introduce statewide mobile betting.

While approval from the federal government would be a positive step toward legal sports betting in Florida, the compact could face legal issues back home. Several parties, including the group No Casinos, have indicated they will challenge the agreement in court. Those groups have cited that the compact violates IGRA as well as Amendment 3, which was passed by Florida voters in 2018 and states that any gaming expansion off tribal land in the state requires approval from the public.

Still, under the updated agreement, the Seminole Tribe would be able to take sports bets as soon as Oct. 15.

The pari-mutuel locations would get to keep 60% of sports betting revenue, leaving the remaining 40% for the Seminoles. The tribe would pay the state up to 14% on the net winnings on sports betting.

Under the new gaming compact, the state of Florida is guaranteed $2.5 billion over the first five years. Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming, stated that the total value of the compact would exceed $20 billion to the state. The Tribe would also be able to offer live dealer craps and roulette games.

There are so many players in legal US sports betting that it’s almost certain this agreement will be challenged. It appears as though FanDuel and DraftKings are already teaming up to fight for a share of online sports betting.

Will the Seminole Tribe offer online casino gaming?

The new gaming compact does not allow the Seminoles to offer online casinos in Florida. Although it was part of the initial agreement, online casino gambling was removed shortly before lawmakers ratified the compact.

The new compact was created to specifically allow the tribe to offer sports betting along with live dealer roulette and craps.

Before ratifying the compact, legislators saw language in the new agreement that would have allowed the tribe and lawmakers to discuss online casinos at a later date. Noting that the public might see this as a loophole to offer statewide mobile gaming without voter approval, that language was entirely removed from the compact.

Regardless, the Seminole Tribe appears to be preparing for online casino gaming. In December 2020, Hard Rock International announced the formation of Hard Rock Digital. This platform would allow the tribe to offer online sports betting and mobile casino gaming anywhere online gambling is legal.

While Florida is the home base of the Seminole Tribe, Hard Rock has 250 casinos and hotels in 76 countries around the world.

History of Seminole and Hard Rock

The idea of Hard Rock International started in 1971. The concept for Hard Rock Cafe expanded globally in 1982 and turned it into an international brand. In 2004, the Seminole Tribe partnered with Hard Rock to open two casinos in Florida.

The relationship between the two parties got much closer in 2007 when the Seminole Tribe acquired Hard Rock International, Inc. The $965 million deal to buy the brand from Rank Group of Britain was one of the largest purchases ever by an American Indian tribe.

The Seminoles didn’t entirely own the Hard Rock brand until recently. Over the years, the Hard Rock brand name had been sold and leased to outside companies. The Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas opened in 1995 but was not owned or operated by the Seminole Tribe since they hadn’t acquired the Hard Rock brand yet.

That changed in 2020 when Hard Rock International purchased the rights to the name and memorabilia from the Vegas property. The casino no longer exists in Las Vegas, but the brand could return under new ownership by the Seminole Tribe.

Hard Rock International continues to expand around the world. Most recently, the company started Hard Rock Digital to take advantage of the expansion of legal online casinos and sports betting in the US.

The company celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021.

Poker at Seminole casinos

Poker is only available at select Seminole casinos in Florida.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, home to the WPT Seminole Poker Showdown, has a 45-table poker room that’s open 24 hours a day. The casino offers various cash games and tournaments and features Limit and No-Limit Texas Hold’em, Omaha hi-lo, and 7-card stud.

The 46-table poker room at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, which also hosts World Poker Tour events, is also open 24 hours every day. The casino offers cash games and tournaments ranging from Texas Hold’em to Seven-Card Stud and Omaha Hi-Lo.

Seminole Casino Coconut Creek has a poker room with 23 tables. The 24/7 space offers cash games and tournaments. Poker players can also reserve a semi-private table at level2. This area offers upscale amenities and dedicated food and beverage service.

While Seminole Casino Coconut Creek doesn’t host national poker events, there are plenty of tournaments and promotions available to Florida locals.

History of the Seminole Tribe

The Seminole Tribe existed long before becoming a gaming powerhouse. Ancestors of the Seminoles have lived in what is now the southeastern part of the US for at least 12,000 years.

While the population of Florida now exceeds 21 million, only about 3,000 of those people are indigenous. Some 2,000 are members of the Seminole Tribe.

The Seminole War dominated the 19th century for the tribe. Survivors of the war who remained in the state moved into the south Florida wilderness. The Florida Seminole survivors started to sell goods to generate revenue and survive in the 20th century.

After World War II, the Seminole Tribe demanded a settlement for lost land. The tribe wrote its own constitution and received federal recognition in 1957. Over the next 40 years, the Seminoles have grown into an economic and political force in Florida.

Seminole Tribe relationship with Florida

While the Seminoles and Florida reached terms on a renegotiated gaming compact in 2021, the relationship between the two parties has been far from rosy.

In 1997, the Seminole Tribe started full management of gaming activities at the Hollywood Reservation. Two years later, the tribe broke ground on its Coconut Creek and Brighton casinos.

This was followed up with a 2001 groundbreaking for Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. In 2oo4, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino opens in Tampa, and the Hollywood property held its grand opening. Three years later, the Seminole Tribe purchased the Hard Rock International franchise.

The gaming compact history between Florida and the tribe had been rocky until 2021. There was an agreement reached in 2015, for example, but it was never ratified. A year later, the Seminoles sued the state to retain its exclusive rights to offer Class III gaming in Florida. While an agreement was restored in 2018, as well as tribal payments to the state, that all fell apart again soon.

In 2019, the Seminole Tribe told Gov. Ron DeSantis it was going to suspend payments unless Florida stopped other gaming facilities from offering games exclusive to the tribe.

It took two years for another renegotiated compact to fall into place, with DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe agreeing on a 2021 deal that could bring legal sports betting to the Sunshine State.