With Ty Pennington from 'Extreme Makeover' shouting "Move That Bus" the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek unveiled its $150 million upgrade Thursday.
The additions include 700 more slots, three restaurants, a 2,400-space garage, a new players' club and high-limit area, most of which I documented in an article Sunday.
Seminole Coconut Creek has had a slew of celebrations in recent years, including the upgrade to Class III slots, the start of blackjack, ground-breaking for its expansion and a quieter shindig for its new poker room, called Stax.
This one probably drew the largest crowd of all, although Tribal Council James E. Billie didn't make it. He started feeling ill about 24 hours ago and apparently has a bad cold, which might have been OK, but apparently he can't talk -- and if you know Billie, that's about the worst thing that could happen to him.
But the day had Billie's touch all over it. A Seminole dance preceded the speeches, as did the parading out of a live alligator (with jaw fastened shut).
"That was 100 percent Billie," Seminole Gaming CEO James Allen said. "You know, sometimes we forget about tradition, and he's great about reminding people about it."
Since Allen was around, I asked the requisite questions about Tallahassee and destination casinos (Billie has come out as saying the state should honor its five-year, $1 billion deal for blackjack), and Allen repeated what he's been saying all along: the Seminoles' advantage with the state as a gambling partner is that the tribe spends the money earned here, recirculating it, Allen said.
Then he pointed toward Coconut Creek's rival, the Isle Casino & Racing in Pompano Beach, whose corporate office in St. Louis.
"Their profits to go St. Louis," he said.
Overall, it'll be interesting to see how the Isle fares. It's easily the most successful pari-mutuel with slots, but Coconut Creek figures show it does about double the Isle's business -- and that was before the expansion. Following their figures with the state will be interesting.
We have some photos and video coming up. I'll link to it later.