Seminole Classic Casino (4150 N. State Road 7, Hollywood, 954-961-3220, SeminoleClassicCasino.com) has finished construction of a premium slot room and areas for baccarat and high-limit blackjack. And by New Year's Eve, it's expected to open its new show bar and stage.
Additions include ornate glass chandeliers and walls with walnut slats and red fabric inserts that have decorative LED lighting. Guests will also find new carpeting, a gated VIP parking area on the east, 300 new parking sports for the general public on the west and lush landscaping. The cost of the upgrades has not been released.
The site is where Indian gaming first started for the entire United States. The Seminoles opened the country's first large-stakes bingo hall there in 1979 and over the years expanded it to include almost 900 slot machines as well as live poker, blackjack and baccarat.
I visited Classic on Monday night, and was surprised by the upgrades. A year ago, when I started writing this casino column, it looked rundown and outdated. It definitely lacked the luster of the tribe's showcase, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, 800-937-0010, SeminoleHardRockHollywood.com), one block north. And it couldn't compare with the upscale Seminole Casino Coconut Creek (5550 NW 40th St., 954-977-6700, CasinoCoco.com) 16 miles north.
But Classic's now giving them a run for their money.
When the show bar and stage opens, it'll have nightly musical acts from Thursdays to Sundays, with a DJ Mondays to Wednesdays.
Kansas heads east
Last week, I provided a roundup of upcoming big-name acts at local casinos during South Florida's tourist season (Chris Rock, Frankie Avalon, Air Supply, etc.). Here's one more: Kansas ("Carry on Wayward Son," "Dust in the Wind"), who will perform on New Year's Eve at Mardi Gras Casino (831 N. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, 954-924-3200, MardiGrasCasinoFL.com).
Earlier this year, the classic-rock band released "The Prelude Implicit," its 15th studio album, and first in 16 years. The show starts at 10:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20-$60.
Deck the gambling halls
With Christmas and Hanukkah coming up, be sure to check schedules before heading out to casinos and pari-mutuels.
Palm Beach Kennel Club (1111 N. Congress Ave., West Palm Beach, 561-683-2222, PBKennelClub.com) will have only matinee racing on Dec. 24 and none on Dec. 25. Its poker room will be dealing cards from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on the 24th and will open at 4 p.m. on the 25th.
The Casino at Dania Beach (301 E. Dania Beach Blvd., 954-920-1511, CasinoDaniaBeach.com) and Magic City Casino (450 NW 37th Ave., Miami, 305-649-3000, MagicCityCasino.com) will operate as usual except for Dec. 25, when it will open at noon. Dania is in the off-season for jai alai, and the same goes for Magic City's greyhound racing.
Calder Casino (21001 NW 27th Ave., Miami Gardens, 305-625-1311, CalderCasino.com), Isle Casino Racing (777 Isle of Capri Circle, Pompano Beach, 954-972-2000, TheIslePompanoPark.com) and Hialeah Park Racing and Casino (2200 E. Fourth Ave., 305-885-8000, HialeahPark.com) will open at 9 a.m. on Dec. 23 and not close until 3 a.m. Dec. 26.
The Seminoles' three casinos don't close.