Sunday, January 13, 2008

Seminole Hard Rock Live Arena Hosts Boxing Events

The Seminole Hard Rock Live Arena has quickly become the premier South Florida location for championship boxing. This 5500 seat venue hosted some big boxing events broadcast by ESPN2's Friday Night Fights on January 11 when Colombian Edison Miranda and Haitian-born Canadian super-middleweight Jean Pascal scored victories in their respective fights. Miranda scored a third round knockout over David Banks of Portland, Oregon. Pascal won a unanimous decision over Omar Pittman of Philadelphia.

Watch the video above of Miranda's spectacular knockout of Banks which the announcer described as the "leading candidate for knockout of the year."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tony Bennett Returning to Hard Rock Live

Mark your calendars for March 19 and 20 when legendary singer Tony Bennett returns to the Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. This is a return performance for Tony since he last performed there in December 2006.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

"Seminole gambling compact with state officially in effect"

It's a done deal. With the publication of the gambling compact signed by Florida Governor Charlie Crist and the Seminole tribe in the Federal Register yesterday, the agreement is now in effect. Not a happy day for state Attorney General Bill McCollum nor Sun-Sentinel Editor Earl Maucker but for the state of Florida it meant an immediate extra $50 million it its coffers with millions more on the way. Here is the Associated Press story about this compact going into effect:

Tallahassee - The agreement Gov. Charlie Crist signed with the Seminole Tribe that allows expanded gambling at seven Indian casinos around the state officially took effect Monday when the compact was published in the Federal Register.

But that doesn't mean gamblers can head straight over to the Hard Rock casinos in Hollywood and Tampa and the tribe's other gambling halls and start playing Las Vegas-style slots, blackjack and other card games.

"The tribe is obviously moving ahead and ordering equipment and hiring and training dealers, but it's unlikely there will be any games operating within the next few months," said tribe spokesman Gary Bitner.

It does mean that the state has $50 million more, the amount the tribe agreed to immediately pay the state once the compact took effect.

Crist said the money "is just the beginning of revenue that will potentially provide billions of dollars to Florida's schools during the next 25 years. While the Legislature holds the authority to appropriate these funds, I am confident they will use the power of the purse to improve the quality of life of Floridians for generations to come."

That money, though, could be heading back to the tribe if legislative leaders are successful in challenging the agreement before the state Supreme Court. House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, and Senate President Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, say Crist didn't have authority to sign the compact without legislative approval. The court will listen to their arguments Jan. 30.

If the compact is found valid, the state will get a cut of gambling revenues from the tribe as part of the agreement Crist signed in November.

Without the compact, the tribe would have at least been able to install Las Vegas-style slots without paying any money to the state because Florida approved slots at Broward County jai-alai frontons and horse and dog tracks. But games like blackjack and baccarat, which aren't allowed elsewhere in Florida, sweeten the deal for the tribe, as well as assurances state law won't be expanded to allow competing games on non-Indian land.

Although it looks like the Las Vegas style slot machines and games will be installed sometime later this year, the exact date when this begins is still unknown. The moment this blog receives that information, we will make it available to you.

Monday, January 7, 2008

"Federal judge rejects injunction on gambling compact in Florida"

Give it up, Bill. It's OVER! O-V-E-R. A Federal judge shot down Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum's last ditch attempt to keep the U.S. Department of Interior from formally accepted the gaming compact signed in November between the Seminole tribe and Florida Governor Charlie Christ as you can read in this Jan. 5 Sun-Sentinel article:

The federal government can validate a Seminole Indian gambling compact on Monday as planned without hindering the state Supreme Court's power to toss out the deal in the future, a federal judge ruled Friday.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman rejected state Attorney General Bill McCollum's attempt to keep the U.S. Department of the Interior from formally accepting a compact reached in November between the tribe and Gov. Charlie Crist.

The ruling has no practical affect on whether the tribe will ultimately offer blackjack and other high-states casino games, but it did shoot down what federal lawyers called McCollum's improper efforts to meddle into federal jurisdiction.

Improper efforts? LOL! You're a bad widdle Attorney General! The Department of Interior attorneys went on to further castigate Bad Boy Bill and his "pointless lawsuit":

In court papers, Interior Department attorneys ripped McCollum's efforts, saying the state had no jurisdiction in the matter and arguing the entire lawsuit was pointless.

"Plaintiff has no possibility of success on the merits," federal lawyers argued, citing a requirement for issuing an injunction. "[McCollum's] attempt to interfere with the administrative process is disruptive, as well as contrary to Congress' will."

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Angel of Mercy Suggestion

The other day I was walking into the Seminole Casino in Hollywood. While I was still in the parking lot, I spotted a couple of glum looking guys walking out. One of them said to me, "Good luck!"

"So how did you guys do?" I asked politely.

"Look at our faces. How do you think we did? Today was definitely not our lucky day," was the reply.

It was just then that a lightbulb flashed a message over my head. Angel of Mercy. We all have unlucky days and know the feeling of the gloomy long walk out into the parking lot to our cars. However, imagine if an Angel of Mercy suddenly appeared with special Angel of Mercy free play coupons for use at a future date. Yes, all hope is gone by the time we hit the parking lot but with the Angel of Mercy and the free play coupons, we would feel redeemed. I like that idea and hope the Seminole Casinos might consider occasionally using the Angel of Mercy in the parking lots to give new hope for unlucky customers.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

"U.S. approves expanded gambling at tribal casinos"

Somebody needs to send Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum (photo) a simple message: "IT'S OVER!!!" Apparently McCollum still hasn't figured out that the gaming compact signed by Governor Charlie Crist is a DONE DEAL. Here are some excerpts from the Jan. 3 Sun-Sentinel article about the Department of the Interior approving the compact between Governor Crist and the Seminole tribe:

The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved the gambling compact between Gov. Charlie Crist and the Seminole Tribe that would allow blackjack, baccarat and Las Vegas-style slot machines at the tribe's seven Florida casinos.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill McCollum said Wednesday he will move quickly this week to get a federal judge to hold a hearing on a lawsuit filed last month to stop the agreement from going into effect until the Florida Supreme Court can decide whether it is legal.The compact has to be published in the Federal Register to take effect. The earliest that could happen is Monday, said Sandi Copes, McCollum's spokeswoman.

"We're right now exploring our options to best expedite our lawsuit," Copes said.

Crist and the tribal council signed the compact in November.

In exchange for the state allowing expanded gambling at the tribe's seven casinos, Florida would collect $375 million over the first three years and a minimum of $100 million annually for the rest of the 25-year deal.

...Barry Richard, one of the Seminole Tribe's attorneys, said the Department of the Interior had 45 days from the Nov. 14 signing of the compact to raise objections. He said Wednesday night that he didn't know whether the Interior Department formally approved the compact or let the 45-day window lapse without taking any action.

From the federal government's standpoint, publication in the Federal Register is the last step for the compact to take effect.

The tribe has given no indication how quickly it could start offering expanded gambling if the legal challenges are resolved in its favor.

New 2¢ Machines

The new 2¢ machines are definitely worth checking out. One of the most popular of these new 2¢ games is the Cleopatra machine. You can bet 20, 40, 80, or 100 points per spin or 40 cents, 80 cents, $1.60, or $2.00. A couple of Sundays ago, I was on my way out the Hollywood Casino when I decided to give a 2¢ Cleopatra a whirl. Maybe it was beginner's luck but with just 2 bucks that I put in the machine, the 3 Sphinxes quickly came up giving me 15 free spins. Then I got another 15 free spins when during my free spin session another 3 Sphinxes showed up. Final result is that I made a net win of $32 just with my two buck investment.

My luck held the next day when I put $10 into the Cleopatra machine and ended up winning almost $70. Of course it sure helped when I racked up over 3000 points with my 15 free spins when the three Sphinxes made their arrival. Next evening I won "only" $8 net total. However, I figured it was like getting a free prime rib buffet dinner since that is what it cost me for dinner and tips.

The whole secret of the Cleopatra machines is waiting for the 3 Sphinxes to show up to give you their 15 free spins. One lucky woman was Martha who I observed getting FIVE Sphinxes at one time. Needless to say, Martha had a VERY GOOD session with the Cleopatra machine.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

$5.99 Prime Rib Buffet

It never ceases to amaze me how few people, even here in Broward County, are aware of the $5.99 Prime Rib Buffet offered by the Seminole Casino Hollywood at the southwest corner of State Road 7 and Stirling. Not only does that include dessert but drinks as well. My wife and I first discovered this buffet when we spotted an ad for it on a billboard off I-75. We enjoyed that first meal so much that we have been coming back and coming back and coming back. And many of the alternating side dishes are also quite good. At various times we've had stuffed crab, egg rolls, pasta with sliced Italian sausage, ham, turkey, and lots of other goodies. As far as I'm concerned it is the best meal deal in town. This buffet is available all day and the quality of the prime rib is FANTASTIC.

"Seminole casino holds lessons for Massachusetts"

In stark contrast to the generally antagonistic coverage by the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel of Seminole gaming, the Boston Globe recently published a balanced and informative story about the tribe. Here are a few excerpts from the November 18 Boston Globe article about the advantages to the states, including Massachusetts, of entering into gaming compacts with the tribes:

It is Monday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and the Seminole tribe will reap millions tonight - not a single dime of which will go to the state of Florida.

This massive resort opened three years ago, and because it operates on tribal land, no compact from the state was needed and none of the tribe's estimated $1.3 billion in annual resort casino proceeds are paid to the state.

It is the scenario that Governor Deval Patrick fears will happen in Massachusetts and explains in large part why the governor wants to preempt Indian gaming by setting up a system to issue state licenses for three casinos. The governor wants to avoid Florida's fate and make sure Massachusetts gets a big cut of the action; his plan calls for casino operators to pay the state hundreds of millions a year.

...Today's glitzy Hard Rock casino has humble origins. In 1979, the Seminole became the first American tribe to officially open a gambling business when it sponsored high-stakes bingo games in an aluminum building where the only food offered was hot dogs.

A quarter century later, after years of failed negotiations with the state, the tribe opened two Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos, one each in Tampa and Hollywood, near Fort Lauderdale. The projects were co-developed by Suffolk Downs principal owner Richard T. Fields, who wants to develop the racetrack in East Boston with similar offerings, and has cited his accomplishment with the Florida tribal casinos in presentations to Patrick administration officials.

The casino in Hollywood has many of the trappings Patrick would like to see at Massachusetts casinos. In addition to a 130,000-square-foot casino in the center of the complex, there is a gauntlet of outdoor restaurants and retail stores - everything from Brats, a children's clothing store, to Hooters, where chicken wings are served by waitresses in skimpy clothing - and a 5,500-seat theater where big-name artists perform. To attract a wider clientele, there is a European-style spa and fitness center, 50,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, and a 4.5-acre lagoon-style pool where parents watch over their sun-splashed children about 100 feet from the casino hall.

Befitting of the Hard Rock music theme, memorabilia is scattered throughout the hotel, from Buddy Holly's blue knit sweater to a pair of Elvis Presley's corduroy pants. Signs near the pool's stone boulders read, "Rock on, but do not climb on rocks," and the housekeeping staff comes into the rooms several times a day, turning up the stereo volume to rock music.

The tribe's presence is subtle but apparent. The shampoo is made with sweetgrass, which grows in the Everglades. The casino store - where patrons can use their player reward points earned from slots - sells baskets, pottery, and other handmade goods. There is a museum with exhibits tied to the Seminoles.

"We used to be able to live on the game from the land. Now we're living on the gaming on the land," said Max Osceola, a Seminole tribal council member. "It's a different commodity that we now have to manage. We used to hunt deer. Now we're hunting deals."

The Seminoles were able to open their casino on their reservation under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, a federal law adopted in 1988 that allows gambling on sovereign Indian territory, outside the reach of state regulations. In the nearly 20 years since the act was adopted, Indian-run casinos have
sprouted across the country.

The flow of money from these casinos more than doubled in the last six years, from $11 billion in revenue at 311 operations in 2000 to $25 billion at 387 operations last year, according to the National Indian Gaming Commission. The explosion of revenue is forcing states like Massachusetts and Florida to
reconsider their previous opposition and confront the idea of getting in on the act, or risk losing a lucrative money source that could support their state governments.

...In the most recent development, Florida negotiated with the Seminoles for a share of the tribe's proceeds, in exchange for allowing the tribe to adopt the more lucrative Las Vegas-style rules on its slot machines. The talks began after the Seminoles contended they were at a disadvantage to the racetracks. Another reason for the state's sudden willingness to deal is that the US Department of the Interior told state officials that unless they made a pact with the tribe the federal agency would give the tribe a license without Florida's consent.

My Hollywood Seminole Casino Win

In addition to updates on Seminole casinos news and specials, I will also be covering human interest stories involving these casinos. The first of these stories involves me and my experience in winning $250 in free play at the Seminole Casino in Hollywood. This story is sort of stream of consciousness and hopefully captures some of the flavor of South Florida. Since it runs almost 5000 words long, rather than publish it here, you can READ it at my award winning (#2 Funniest Blog in the 2007 Weblog Awards) DUmmie FUnnies blog.

Seminole Casinos Compact Named #4 Gambling Story of 2007

Casino Gambling Web writers and editors have named the Seminole gambling compact signed by Florida Governor Crist as the #4 top gambling news story of 2007:

#4 Florida Governor Negotiates Seminole Indian Gambling Compact

Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced a 25-year compact with the Seminole Indian Tribe to make blackjack, baccarat, and Vegas style slots legal in their seven Florida casinos. Previously, the tribe could only feature bingo-style slot machines and poker. Florida House speaker Marco Rubio, furious over the deal, argued the compact to be invalid without legislative ramifications, and ultimately sued the Governor. The compact followed other very big news from the Seminoles when they finalized the purchase of the Hard Rock chain of hotels and casinos across the world. The deal made the Seminoles the most prosperous business entrepreneurs of all Native American tribes.

Premier Edition

This is the first edition of my Seminole Casinos blog. The purpose of this blog is to acquaint everybody with the wonderful world of Seminole Casinos. I plan to include human interest stories, special bargains, and historical background about the Seminole Casinos. On the latter note, did you know that all Indian gaming had its genesis in the bingo hall opened by the Seminoles in Hollywood in 1979? I will also be featuring the many special deals offered by the Seminole Casinos so keep on checking this blog for updates on those specials. And my first tip on the specials is the $2.95 breakfast buffet offered every day from 7 to 10 AM except Sundays at the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek near the intersection of Sample Road and State Road 7.

Keep checking back. I will have lots more stories, information, and specials offered by the Seminole Casinos.