Florida Everglades Casino Ready to Open Along Alligator Alley

Posted on: February 7, 2024, 11:58h. 

Last updated on: February 7, 2024, 08:20h.

An Everglades casino with bingo-based “slot” machines will soon open along Alligator Alley, aka Interstate 75.

Everglades casino Miccosukee Tribe Florida
Google Maps shows the forthcoming Little Trail Casino located at the Miccosukee Service Plaza off Exit 49 of Alligator Alley. The Everglades casino is owned and operated by the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida. (Image: Google Maps)

Later this month, travelers driving from Miami to Naples can refill, grab a coffee, and play an electronic bingo-based machine at the Little Trail Casino. Opening a week from today, February 14, the casino is located at the Miccosukee Service Plaza at Exit 49.

The Miccosukee Tribe of Florida is expanding its tribal gaming footprint in Southern Florida. The Native American tribe currently owns and operates its namesake Miccosukee Casino & Resort in Miami at the westward entrance of the Everglades.

We are excited to celebrate this significant milestone alongside our tribal members and numerous key stakeholders who have played a crucial role in our journey,” said Talbert Cypress, chair of the Miccosukee Tribe. “This marks an exhilarating start to our next phase, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone to this unique experience.”

The Little Trail Casino will feature 150 electronic bingo machines in a smoke-free environment. The facility will be open daily from 8 a.m. until 12 midnight. Along with the gaming terminals, the facility will feature beer and wine.

One-Stop Shop for Gamblers

The trip across Alligator Alley from Naples to Miami takes about two hours. The Little Trail Casino could become a popular pitstop for gamblers making the drive.

Along with the casino, the Miccosukee Service Plaza offers 12 Tesla charging stations, a convenience store, restrooms, a Dunkin’, and a café. A fenced dog relief area is also offered. The rest stop is the only gas station on the 80-mile stretch of I-75 that runs through a section of the Miccosukee reservation.

Before the gaming machines take their first wagers, tribal officials say they’ll hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The 8,500-square-foot gaming space will open at 11 a.m. next Wednesday.

Florida Tribal Gaming

The Seminole Tribe is the only other federally recognized tribe in Florida. The Seminoles dominate the state gaming industry and monopolize most house-banked table games and Las Vegas-style slot machines outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

The Seminoles have long held a Class III gaming compact with the State of Florida. That allows them to operate traditional slot machines and dealer table games in their Hard Rock and Seminole-branded casinos.

The Miccosukee Tribe hasn’t entered into a Class III gaming compact in favor of retaining all of its gaming proceeds. That decision, however, prevents the Miccosukee Casino & Resort and forthcoming Little Trail Casino from offering slot machines and dealer table games.

The Miccosukee “slot” machines differ because their outcomes are based on bingo simulations, not an individual random number generator, as is the case with a slot machine inside a Seminole casino. Bingo machines use a central server that runs bingo games in the background to produce results. The bingo games are computed nearly instantly and mimic the seamless instant experience of a slot.

The Miccosukee Casino & Resort is a considerably larger gaming facility, with about 1,800 gaming machines, a live bingo room that runs games Wednesday through Sunday, and a 20-table poker room. The resort features 302 guest rooms, four dining and drinking options, meeting and wedding capabilities, live entertainment, and 36 holes of golf.

The resort additionally offers alligator demonstrations, airboat rides, a village museum, and a gift shop offering crafts and goods created and curated by Miccosukee natives.