The biggest casino in the state of Florida is about to grow even bigger.
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa unveiled ambitious expansion plans worth $700 million this week. The centerpiece of the project is a new 15-story tower hotel with 564 rooms, giving the hotel more than 800 rooms and 88 suites in total.
The casino floor will also undergo a major renovation to make room for 200 additional gaming tables and 5,000 more slot machines.
A private gaming parlor will be located at the top of the new tower, and the hotel will also be furnished with new outdoor pools, restaurants, and a 25,000 square foot spa which will replace the old one.
The project is part of a $2.4 billion “economic investment” into the Seminole Tribe’s casino properties in Tampa and Hollywood, Florida.
It marks the latest attempt by the tribe to expand casino gaming in the state.
This latest plan is similar to the one that was revealed in 2016 as the tribe entered into negotiations with Governor Rick Scott over a new gaming compact with the state. That expansion project was contingent on Florida and the tribe a coming to a new agreement.
The Seminoles thought they had a 20-year deal in place with Scott which would have granted them exclusive rights to offer blackjack, craps, and roulette in the state. The compact would have been worth $3 billion for Florida, but legislators weren’t buying it. They eventually voted the deal down, sending the Seminoles back to the drawing board.
The tribe returned with more modest expansion plans in 2017. Leaders announced a $100 million expansion which included a new mezzanine casino, 500 additional slot machines, 15 new gaming tables, and a guitar-shaped hotel.
The Seminole Tribe eventually did reach a new gaming compact with the state in 2017, giving it exclusive rights to blackjack and clearing the way for a much more significant expansion.
“That gave the tribe stability for the full-scale expansion. Though, clearly, the details have evolved,” said casino spokesman Gary Bitner, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
More Space for Poker
In addition to the new hotel tower, the property will also add a 30,000-square-foot event center complex on the floor above its current casino.
The centerpiece will be a 17,000-square foot ballroom which can host trade shows, concerts, and conventions.
It will also allow the property to become an even bigger player in the poker scene. The casino has played host to several marquee tournaments in the past, including a stop on the WPT tour and World Series of Poker Circuit events. Once complete, however, there is the potential for much larger-scale poker tournaments to be held in the ballroom, and the hotel plans to take advantage.
Casino officials are promising that the expansion project will create 1,000 new jobs in addition to the 3,500 people they already employ. Some 2,000 construction jobs will also be needed over the next two years.
The renovations are expected to be completed by mid-2019.