Seminole Tribe of Florida Brings Out Celebrities to Usher In ‘New Era’

Posted on: December 19, 2023, 12:41h. 

Last updated on: January 2, 2024, 12:48h.

In October, the Seminole Tribe of Florida finally secured its legal pathway to operate retail and online sports betting. But it also won the rights to additional house-banked table games through a revised state gaming compact.

Seminole casinos craps roulette sports betting
Jimmy Johnson (in suit) looks on as Seminole Tribe of Florida Chair Marcellus Osceola Jr. throws the dice at a craps table at Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee. Singer Ashanti watches wearing a Prada T-shirt. (Image: Seminole Tribe of Florida)

The Seminole Tribe endured more than two years of legal wrangling about whether a federally recognized tribe can accept sports bets remotely. That’s so long as the computer servers facilitating the online wagering remain on the tribe’s sovereign land. In October, the U.S. Supreme Court said it wouldn’t stand in the Seminoles’ way in executing its latest Class III gaming compact that it struck with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in April 2021.

The revenue-sharing agreement will provide the Florida government with an estimated $6 billion in gaming taxes in its first nine years. The tribe guaranteed a minimum of $2.5 billion over the first five years of the compact in exchange for sports betting privileges in its six casinos and online, plus rights to operate craps and roulette.

The Seminoles’ online sports betting operations commenced in early November through its digital Hard Rock Bet app and platform. Then, on Thursday, December 7, the roulette wheels began spinning and the first dice were thrown on craps at the Seminole Classic Casino Hollywood.

Celebs Usher in New Games

The Seminole Tribe brought out some of its celebrity friends to help celebrate the debut of in-person sports betting, craps, and roulette in the Sunshine State.

During the December 7 event at Seminole Classic in Hollywood, about 15 miles north of Miami, celebs on hand included Mike Tyson, rapper Rick Ross, and actor/comedian Rob Riggle. Miami Marlins coach Jon Jay was also on hand with Seminole Tribe Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr., Hard Rock International CEO Jim Allen, and members of the Seminole Tribal Council.

Since the December 7 launch of the expanded in-person gaming, the tribe has celebrated the games’ launches at other properties, including Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee, and Seminole Casino Brighton.

On Sunday, roulette began at Seminole Immokalee. The tribe again turned up several celebrities to commemorate the day, including former Miami Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson, singer Ashanti, former NFL star and Immokalee native Edgerrin James, and former MMA star Tito Ortiz.

‘New Era’ in Florida Gaming

Osceola says the tribe gaining the right to offer craps, roulette, and sports betting represents a monumental milestone for the Seminole casinos.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is proud to point to a new era in Florida gaming with the unveiling of our new casino games,” Osceola said. “With the addition of craps, roulette, and sports betting, we now offer a full complement of casino games and we join the ranks of leading casinos around the world.”

Seminole casinos in Florida generated an estimated $3 billion in gross gaming revenue last year. The American Gaming Association says the tribal casinos support about 46K jobs and generate an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion.