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Tribal Hard Rock gets taste of Vegas

Aug 19, 2008 7:01 PM

By Kevin Stott | The Seminole Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Hollywood, Florida has made a little bit of history this year becoming the first casino in the Sunshine State to introduce both slot machines and card games.

Thanks to a compact agreement signed by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Seminole Chairman Mitchell Cypress in November, 2007, and approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior this January when it became law, the casino now offers a variety of Las Vegas-style class III slot machines and card games.

First on the floor of the casino were the slot machines, which made their debut on Jan. 29. The machines were manufactured by two Las Vegas companies, International Game Technology (IGT) and Bally Technologies.

"This is another ‘first’ for the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino," said General Manager Larry Frank. "Multi-area progressive and mega jackpot slots provide our Players Club members and casino guests an opportunity to win millions of dollars in cash while playing on these machines linked to other Native American casinos across the country."

The enterprise did not go unnoticed in Las Vegas.

"We are honored to be a part of this historic moment for the Seminole Tribe of Florida as they celebrate yet another groundbreaking milestone in their highly successful enterprise," said Richard M. Haddrill, CEO of Bally Technologies.

Some of the new slot machines in the casino include some of the industry’s most-popular titles, including Wheel of Fortune, Hot Shot, Cleopatra, Blazing 7s and Triple Diamond. Las Vegas-style slot machines will also reportedly be installed at six other casinos of the Seminiole Tribe of Florida.

The federally approved compact agreement also provides for Blackjack, Baccarat and other house-banked card games at the Seminole casinos. The first legal card games in the state were played on June 22. In addition to Blackjack and Baccarat, the Hard Rock Seminole also introduced Mini-Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Let it Ride and 3-Card Poker.

"With the introduction of Blackjack and other card games in Florida, Las Vegas-style casinos will now be at the doorstep of the residents of Florida," said James Allen, Seminole Gaming CEO. "Floridians won’t have to go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City to play their favorite casino games."

Over 700 Blackjack dealers, supervisors and other personnel were hired by the casino in advance of the launch of the card games.

Besides the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, the Seminole Tribe of Florida also operates the Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa, as well as several others in the state.

The Seminole Tribe pioneered Indian Gaming with the opening of a high-stakes bingo hall in Hollywood in 1979.

The addition of slots and card games has been a boon to the casino and quite a success according toGary Bitner, spoksperson for the Seminole Trible. And there’s no doubt that the popularity of these slot machines and card games will only increase in the state over time.

"This is a first for the state of Florida and it will capture the attention of visitors looking for gaming," said Nikki Grossman, President of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.