This tribe knows how to rock. The Seminole Tribe of Florida owns Hard Rock Cafe International, which includes a chain of more than 160 Hard Rock Cafes in some 45 countries. In addition to the Hard Rock properties, the Seminole Tribe owns two Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos (in Tampa and Hollywood, Florida), as well as a handful of non-Hard Rock casinos, also in Florida. The Seminole Tribe also operates a cultural and historical museum adjacent to its gaming facilities in Hollywood, as well as various educational programs at six reservations throughout Florida (Big Cypress, Brighton, Ft. Pierce, Hollywood, Immokalee, and Tampa). The tribe opened the first high stakes bingo hall and casino in the US in 1979.
The Seminole Tribe expanded in 2010 with several development projects. It made additions at its Coconut Creek casino (more restaurants, a parking garage, shops, and more gambling), and opened a new Hard Rock Café at its Hotel and Casino in Tampa. The new Hard Rock Café in Tampa is a 17,500-square-foot, 350-seat restaurant that took the place of the property's previous Floyd's restaurant and is nearly twice its size. In addition, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, the company completed construction of a 2,400-space parking garage and spent some $1.5 million on renovations at its Council Oak Steaks & Seafood restaurant.
The company has been engaged in a battle over its right to conduct expanded gambling in the state of Florida. The Seminoles had installed Las Vegas-style slot machines and blackjack tables at some of its casinos with the 2008 approval of then-Governor Charlie Crist in exchange for increased tax revenue to the state; however, the governor did not involve the legislature in his decision, and Florida lawmakers sued. The state Supreme Court ruled that the governor had exceeded his authority, and that more legislation was need for the Seminoles to continue to offer the Vegas-style games. The Florida Legislature and Crist eventually approved a five-year exclusivity pact with the tribe for blackjack and other table games, which began in 2010.
The Seminole Tribe expanded its empire significantly when it purchased the Hard Rock operations from The Rank Group for some $965 million in 2007. The acquisition included the Hard Rock Cafe chain, in addition to four Hard Rock hotels, two Hard Rock casino-hotels, three Hard Rock Live! concert venues, and equity stakes in three unbranded hotels. (The Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas is a separate business under different ownership.)
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