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Seminoles Talk Casino, Hotel Expansion Plan If Compact Approved

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HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) - A hotel tower shaped like a guitar is just one of the items set for approval if state lawmakers sign on compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Governor Rick Scott.

The compact would add three bill dollars to the state's bottom line over the next seven years. In return, the tribe would get exclusive rights to have roulette, craps and other table games int their casinos and place limits on their competition.

In addition to the 800-room 'guitar tower', the $1.8 billion expansion to the 11-acre Seminole Hard Rock and Casino property in Hollywood would include five new restaurants, a buffet, a night club, villas for long term guests, a second swimming pool, a pool bar and an expansion of the casino floor for more gaming.

The makeover projects, if approved for the tribe's casino properties in Hollywood and Tampa, would bring nearly 20,000 jobs to Florida.

"A lot of them are construction. 14,400 directly and indirectly construction. But about 4800-4700 will be direct and indirect permanent jobs," said Governor Scott.

Vanessa Bellevue works at the casino's steakhouse. Her sister recently passed away leaving Bellevue to care for her five children. She says times are tough and she and her five new kids depend on her job to get by.

"Over the last few months it's been a little different. Now that we have kids, we just try to make sure that that we provide for them the best," said Bellevue.

Tribal leaders say she's not alone and there are thousands of their employees vendors, and businesses in the same boat.

Scott said if the deal is not approved by the legislature, the state would be looking at loss of approximately 3,800 jobs.

So far, the legislature has put it on the proverbial back burner. Last month, a Senate panel held a workshop on details of the compact. Since then no further action has been taken and the measure it not scheduled to be brought up during the panels next meeting on Tuesday.

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