Seminole Tribe seeks blackjack dealers

Miami (AP) – The Seminole Tribe of Florida is about to start hiring workers for blackjack and other card games it plans to soon offer at its casinos, even though the compact with Gov. Charlie Crist allowing the games is being challenged in the Florida Supreme Court.

The tribe will begin running print advertisements Friday that pitch job openings for 3,650 dealers for blackjack, baccarat and pai gow, which is a form of poker. The ads also seek floor supervisors, and cage and pit managers for the casinos in Hollywood, Tampa, Coconut Creek and at its Everglades reservations.

One ad will run in South Florida-area papers with the goal of attracting dealers from gambling cruises based in the area, while another will target non-Florida gaming markets, tribe spokesman Gary Bitner said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the tribe is planning job fairs next week in Atlantic City, N.J., and early April in Hartford, Conn. It also may hold similar fairs in Mississippi and Las Vegas, Bitner said.

Both blackjack and baccarat are part of the federally approved compact signed in November by Seminole Chairman Mitchell Cypress and Crist, a deal that also allowed the tribe to install Las Vegas-style Class III slot machines at its casinos. The tribe turned on the new slot machines Wednesday at its Coconut Creek casino, following the installation of 800 machines at its Hard Rock hotel and gaming facility in January.

The state House is challenging the agreement, saying Crist needed the Legislature’s approval for it to take effect.

Crist and the tribe argue that state and federal law allow him to act unilaterally. They also argue that without an agreement, the tribe under federal law could have opened the games anyway because voters allowed Las Vegas-style slots to be installed at Broward and Miami-Dade county pari-mutuel facilities. Without an agreement, they argue, the tribe could have also offered games like craps and the state would not have been entitled to tax revenue.

Gaming tables have been designed and ordered, and the first table ones are planned for the Hard Rock in Hollywood in June, Bitner said. They will be gradually rolled out at the tribe’s other casinos.

‚The introduction of table games is going to catapult an already successful gaming resort into the big leagues of gaming facilities,‘ said Joseph Weinert, senior vice president of Spectrum Gaming Group in Linwood, N.J.

The Seminoles were the first U.S. tribe to offer high-stakes gambling when they opened a bingo hall in 1979. The tribe completed its USD 965 million purchase of the Hard Rock cafes, hotels, casinos and music memorabilia from London-based Rank Group PLC in March 2007.