1. Business

Florida Indian gaming revenues grow, but more slowly

Florida Indian gaming revenues grew in 2016, but at a much more modest pace than in the previous year, according to a new report, the annual Casino City's Indian Gaming Industry Report. In Tampa, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has a $700 million expansion underway, which is one of the growth strategies economist Alan Meister identified as opportunities for growth. (Times file | 2011)
Published Oct. 3, 2018

TAMPA — Indian gaming in Florida is big and getting bigger, though not as fast as it was a few years ago.

Florida remains the No. 3 state in revenues from Indian gaming, with $2.56 billion in 2016, according to an economist who tracks nationwide trends, slot machine-by-slot machine, in tribe-run gaming.

During 2016, the most recent year for which data are available, Indian gaming nationwide grew by a solid 3.9 percent with a record $31.5 billion in total revenues, California economist Alan Meister reported Wednesday in his annual Casino City's Indian Gaming Industry Report.

It was the seventh straight year of revenue growth since the Great Recession. That said, it was slightly lower than the industry's 5.2 percent growth in 2015, likely because of a general slowing in the national economy, Meister said.

That said, Indian gaming still grew faster than commercial casinos and racetrack casinos, securing nearly 45 percent of the gaming market nationwide and making tribe-run facilities the largest segment of the market.

Meanwhile, other, non-gambling revenue at Indian gaming businesses grew 8.2 percent to an all-time high of $4.2 billion.

Among states, Florida's $2.56 billion in gaming revenue for 2016 trailed only California ($8.4 billion) and Oklahoma ($4.4 billion).

THE OUTLOOK LAST YEAR: Florida's Indian gaming industry rebounds after recession but new competition looms

In revenue growth, however, Florida ranked No. 18 in 2016, with an increase of just 4/10ths of a percent — a significant slowdown from the previous year's 7.3 percent.

Meanwhile, growth of non-gaming revenues was faster than the national total, said Meister, who described both changes as "very pronounced" when compared to the general trends.

Looking ahead, Meister said there's a significant degree of uncertainty for tribe-run casinos, "given the mix of economic, industry, legal, regulatory, and political challenges facing Indian gaming, especially under the Trump administration."

But he said, the opportunities for growth include the replacement, expansion and remodeling of existing facilities — something happening in a big way at Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the biggest casino in the state.

BACKGROUND: Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa goes forward with massive expansion

The Seminole Hard Rock's $700 million expansion in Tampa is adding a 15-story tower, 200,000 square feet of gaming space, and a 200-seat Italian restaurant.

The expanded Tampa casino and hotel are expected to open in mid-2019, with a total of 5,000 slot machines, nearly 200 gaming tables, 800 hotel rooms, 88 suites, 6,000 parking spaces and more than 4,500 full- and part-time employees.

The Seminole Tribe's expansions of their gaming facilities are likely to help their performance, Meister said in an email to the Tampa Bay Times.

On the other hand, he said, "card rooms have continued to encroach on the banked table games offered by the Seminole Tribe, thus having a negative impact."

Another wildcard: the various, recurring and so-far-unsuccessful efforts to expand casino gambling in Florida. In November, voters will consider Amendment 3, largely backed by Disney and the Seminole Tribe, to make such expansions harder by requiring voter approval for any form of casino gambling, something now largely controlled by the Legislature.

Expanded casino gaming "would likely have a negative impact on the tribe," Meister said, "depending on the scale, scope and location of the new gaming."

MORE: Go here for more Business News

Contact Richard Danielson at or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times


  1. Sam's Club fulfillment center manager Nick Barbieri explains to a shopper how the new Scan & Go shop works at 5135 S Dale Mabry Highway. SARA DINATALE  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The shuttered store has been reinvented and debuted to the community.
  2. Yogi Goswami
    The Molekule Air Mini is a scaled-down version of its original purifier.
  3. 580 Corporate Center in Oldsmar Jones Lang LaSalle Capital Markets
    The six-building center is 91 percent occupied.
  4. Florida has a newly-appointed task force to analyze the state's cybersecurity health. Pictured is Florida's Old Capitol building in March. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times] SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    A Legislature-created task force convenes this month to begin its year-long assessment.
  5. 5 hours ago• Business
    The Cross Bay Ferry, Provincetown III leaves the Vinoy Yacht Basin in January with passengers headed to Tampa. For departure times and fares for this season, which will go from Nov. 1 through April 30, check [SCOTT KEELER | Times] SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Now in its third year, the ferry will run Wednesdays through Sundays, with service for every Tampa Bay Lightning home game.
  6. The Doc Webb house, which became a point of contention over its historic status. LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The City Council will vote on amended regulations about third-party designation meant to quell verbal and legal skirmishes over historic preservation
  7. Ken Jones, CEO of Third Lake Capital, has sold WingHouse for $18 million to a Jacksonville restaurant company. [Times 2016]
    Tampa’s Third Like Capital now major shareholder in restaurant’s new owners.
  8. The Don CeSar Hotel is caught up in a lawsuit over liquid nitrogen being served and causing injuries at its restaurant. [Times (2011)]
    They say the other side has made inflammatory and misleading statements to the media.
  9. This Mobil Coast gas station at 16055 State Road 52 in Land O Lakes is one of 10 cited in a Florida Department of Environmental Protection lawsuit where inspectors said they found lapses in regularly required tests, maintenance, documentation or other oversight by Brandon-based Automated Petroleum and Energy or its related companies. On Wednesday, the company said the station had already been put back in compliance with state regulations. (Photo via Google street view) Google street view
    The Florida Department of Environmental Protection contends Automated Petroleum and Energy Company failed to do required maintenance or testing at 10 gas stations in the Tampa Bay area and beyond.
  10. FILE - In this July 31, 2019, file photo workers clean the outside facade of State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. On Wednesday, Oct. 16, the Federal Reserve releases its latest ‘Beige Book’ survey of economic conditions. ROSS D. FRANKLIN  |  AP
    “Persistent trade tensions and slower global growth” were weighing on the economy, the Federal Reserve reported.