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Seminole Tribe now fully controls Hard Rock brand

in Statewide by

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has consolidated its control over the “Hard Rock” hotel and casino brand, buying out the remaining rights from the owner-operator of Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

The deal was announced Friday in a news release. The terms were not made public.

The acquisition means “the Hard Rock brand has now been united for the first time in more than 35 years under one controlling ownership,” said Jim Allen, Hard Rock International’s chairman and Seminole Gaming CEO.

The tribe, which controls Hard Rock International, bought the casino and hotel-casino rights in the western United States, as well as Australia, Brazil, Israel, Venezuela and the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. 

That means “Hard Rock International is now exclusively entitled to develop, own, license, franchise and manage Hard Rock Casinos and Hotel-Casinos” in those areas, the release said.

In late 2006, the tribe bought Hard Rock International, the 45-year-old rock ‘n’ roll-themed brand of restaurants, hotels and casinos. It operates the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood.

BREF HR, LLC affiliates, who sold the right, will continue to own and operate the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas.

As part of the deal, Hard Rock International assumed licensing control over Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada; Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City, Iowa; Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, B.C..

“Hard Rock International also acquired certain memorabilia, bringing the total to more than 81,000 pieces globally,” the release said. An Eric Clapton guitar was the first in the collection.

“Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos growing portfolio consists of 23 hotels and resorts, as well as (more than) 160+ Hard Rock Cafes, among other Hard Rock venues in more than 71 countries,” according to the release.

Earlier this week, the tribe removed James E. Billie as chairman, citing “various issues with policies and procedures of the chairman’s office.”

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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