With major casino operators trying to gain a foothold in Florida, the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek is not standing by in idle mode.
The Seminole Indians, major players in the Florida gaming industry, doubled the size of the old casino floor to 100,000 square feet, added several new high-end restaurants and now have a total of 2,300 slot machines.
"I have been in every casino in the United States, or 75 percent of them, and this compares with anything in Atlantic City or Vegas," said Steve Bourie, the publisher of the American Casino Guide. "It is a beautiful facility."
The state of Florida currently has an exclusive agreement with the Seminoles, who, over the next five years, will pay $1.2 billion to the state in order to hold a monopoly on black jack and other table games in the state. A destination resort bill in the legislature would nullify that compact if passed, but the Seminoles still have destination resort ideas of their own.
"I think the next phase here will be a hotel, and we wish to have the opportunity to expand on our relationship with the state," said Jim Allen, the CEO of Seminole Gaming.
The new expansion also added about 800 jobs during the Nov. 2 job fair. Finding a job in Florida isn’t an easy task, with an unemployment rate of 9.9 percent.
But the need for employers worked for Cimone Lark, who landed a hostess job at Sorrisi, the casino's Italian restaurant.
"It came and I was one of the people actually was in line, and then at a certain time they cut the line off and gave everybody cards and was like 'Oh, you have to come back,' and so I came back and got hired on the spot," Lark said.
Most of the casino jobs are not gaming-related.
Kaylin Foy said she worked at a Chinese restaurant and was able to get a job at the casino during the job fair.
Like the Seminole Casino, the updated Miami Jai-Alai casino held a job fair months ago that drew thousands. It reopened last week with 350 new staff members.
And two more large developments promise thousands more jobs for the region. The new Miami Marlins ballpark opens next month, and the powers that be there say they are looking to hire up to 2,000 people.
And the latest artist renditions of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Beach Resort were just released. The Hollywood Beach project is a few years away -- it is slated to open in spring 2014 -- but the resort is expected to create nearly 1,000 jobs, including 587 for its construction.