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Seminoles Continue Casino Expansion While Las Vegas Execs Wait

The Seminole Indians understand fully that their casino gambling monopoly in Florida is not going to last forever. While they are the only game in town offering blackjack and other tables games, however, the Seminoles appear set on making the most of the monopoly.

The Seminoles have now started their expansion plans for the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa. When completed, the expansion will make the casino resort one of the largest in the entire country. With all of the expansion taking place around the US, it is surprising to some that Florida will house one of the largest facilities in the nation.

"When I moved to Florida back in 1965, there was no casino gambling," said Chris Lopez. "We soon after had jai alai, but that was it. To see all of the casinos that we have now, it always amazes me. Who would have thought casino gambling would get this big?"

Clearly, the Seminole tribe had an idea of where the gaming industry was headed in Florida. The Seminoles ironed out a compact with state lawmakers last year that gives the tribe the rights to operate blackjack and baccarat at five of their seven gaming facilities in the state. The Seminoles have moved quickly to accommodate the rising number of gamblers seeking an outlet.

In Hollywood, the Seminoles have one of two South Florida locations where blackjack is offered. The Hollywood resort not only offers table games, but a wide array of entertainment and dining options. The resort in Tampa has similar offerings, and with a $75 million expansion plan in the works, the Tampa facility is set to become a top gaming destination in the world.

With all of the money being invested by the Seminoles, it will not amount to a large increase in table games. The tribe only expects to add a dozen tables to the casino. They will, however, be operating 750 additional slot machines once the expansion is complete.

Outside of the casino, patrons will be more comfortable than in the past. A new, five-story parking garage will house 1,350 more parking spaces. That is an increase of over twenty-five percent from the current parking availability.

The tribe will also be contributing to lowering the state unemployment rate. Around 400 additional employees are expected to to be added. Already, the casino resort has over 3,000 employees on staff.

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