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Seminoles to raise Hard Rock stakes with expansion

Miami Herald,  Friday, July 6, 2007 at 8:42:04 AM

The Seminole Tribe of Florida plans to expand the Hard Rock restaurant, hotel and casino chain in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe after buying the company this year from Britain's Rank Group.

The tribe aims to double the number of Hard Rock Cafes to about 250 and have about 90 hotels, Hamish Dodds, chief executive officer of Hard Rock International, said Monday at a press conference in London. Restaurants will open at the rate of about eight a year and hotels at about five a year, he said. The tribe also plans to expand the casino business, starting in the United States.

The Seminole tribe makes more than 90 percent of its money from gambling, after opening its first bingo hall in the United States in 1979, and has seven casinos on its reservation. When the Seminoles agreed in December to pay $965 million for Hard Rock, Seminole Gaming Chief Executive Officer James Allen said he saw a "tremendous opportunity" to expand the chain by adding hotels. the source
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