Friday, December 15, 2017
Business

Florida's Indian casinos make big nongambling revenue gains

TALLAHASSEE — As Florida lawmakers take a break from debating legislation to revamp the state's gambling laws, new numbers released Wednesday show the state's eight Indian casinos again increased nongambling revenue by 25 percent in 2012, far and above the 2.7 percent increase among Indian facilities nationwide.

It was the second consecutive year of a double-digit nongambling increase, driven by the Seminole Tribe of Florida's two Hard Rock hotels and casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, said Alan Meister, an economist with Nathan Associates, which tracks Indian gaming.

Nongambling revenue includes food and entertainment, a proven industry boon led by the larger casino entities in Las Vegas.

"The Seminole tribe has been developing this project, this brand, and over time it has been able to leverage it and add more shows and restaurants," said Meister, who is the author of the newly released Indian Gaming Industry Report by Casino City, which tracks the performance of Indian casinos in the U.S.

The annual study, which tracks data through 2012, reports that Florida's eight Indian casinos increased gambling revenue by 2.5 percent that year, a notch above the 2 percent hike in 2011.

Florida ranked fourth overall in gambling revenue among Indian casinos with $2.2 billion in 2012, behind California, Oklahoma and Washington. The figure is a 3 percent increase, the second straight year of growth after a decline in 2010.

The report notes the expansion plans of the Seminole brand, including the hotel, showroom and conference center in Coconut Creek, and a new casino in Hollywood.

"They're developing these other properties and expanding on what they have," Meister said. "I don't think it's any surprise that Indian gaming has been successful in Florida. You can see how nice these facilities are, and then there is the move into Class 3 gaming," which is casino-style games such as black jack. The Seminoles declined comment on the report.

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