The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Photo: Hard Rock

Seminole Tribe debuts Hard Rock casino in space once owned by Donald Trump

The Seminole Tribe continues to grow its Hard Rock gaming and entertainment empire with a new facility in New Jersey.

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City officially opened its doors on Thursday afternoon. Hundreds of Seminole leaders, citizens and dignitaries made the trip from their homelands in Florida for the big event.

"What we do is we love all, we serve all," Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. told the large crowd gathered at the facility. "That's what it says in our logo. And we mean that."

Despite uncertainty and outright opposition over the years, the tribe has been one of the pioneers of the gaming industry, Osceola pointed out that the Seminoles opened their first establishment in 1979, long before casinos took off all over Indian Country.

The tribe now operates a fleet of facilities in southern Florida, where Osceola said his people survived the federal government's attempts at "annihilation" and "eradicating us." But the Seminoles are all over the world too, having acquired the iconic Hard Rock franchise more than a decade ago.

"Definitely a true testament to the unconquered spirit," Osceola said to cheers.

The spirit has endured even as others have failed. The Atlantic City facility is a huge sign of that -- it's located at the former Trump Taj Mahal, which was once owned by the current U.S. president before it failed financially.

The tribe and its partners purchased the site for $50 million, far less than the $1.2 billion that Donald Trump once said he put into the namesake casino. They invested $500 million in revamping the facility, ridding it of the garish "East Indian" theme that was once prevalent across the 17-acre waterfront property.

"The Seminole Tribe has come a long way," observed Vice Chairman Mitchell Cypress. "Back in the 60s, we probably had about $100 in the bank. But look at where we are today."

The ceremony concluded as tribal leaders and gaming executives took part in the "guitar smash" that characterizes all Hard Rock openings. Patrons soon flooded into the casino, which features more than 2,100 slot machines, 120 table games and a 7,000-seat concert venue.

According to Hard Rock, more than 3,800 are being hired to work at the facility. More than 50,000 people applied for jobs, The Vineland Daily Journal reported.

Hard Rock opened on the same day as the Ocean Resort Casino, also on the Atlantic City boardwalk. That facility replaced a failed venue as well.

Read More on the Story:
Rock on! Hard Rock Hotel & Casino blasts into Atlantic City with grand opening (NJ.Com June 28, 2018)
Hard Rock A.C. christens opening with guitar smash (The Press of Atlantic City June 28, 2018)
Hard Rock hopes to bring Vegas sensibilities to Atlantic City, NJ with its new casino (CNBC June 28, 2018)
'Hard Rock' & a View of the 'Ocean' as 2 Atlantic City Casinos Rise Again (NBC Philadelphia June 28, 2018)
Hard Rock, Ocean Resort open in Atlantic City (The Vineland Daily Journal June 28, 2018)
Atlantic City holds its breath as Hard Rock, Ocean debut in shells of failed Trump Taj Mahal and Revel casinos (The Philadelphia Inquirer June 28, 2018)

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