Miccosukee Tribe aims to host 1,000 gamblers safely in casino

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Billy Cypress, the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida chairman, said he was grateful to the gamblers who were not afraid to visit the casino during the coronavirus pandemic.

Amid the rising cases in Florida, the tribe closed the casino on March 22. At 25% capacity, the Miccosukee Resort & Gaming has been able to welcome 500 gamblers to their casino since reopening on Sunday.

Cypress said he is hoping to soon increase capacity to 50% to welcome 1,000 gamblers. He and other tribal leaders said the casino has implemented safety measures that could make that possible.

“We were able to open our doors early by meeting what we call all the steps of safety for all of us," Cypress said, adding “We have a long way to go. We’re not out of it.”

On Sunday, gamblers waited on Eighth Street to enter the casino at 500 SW 177th Ave., in west Miami-Dade’s border with the Florida Everglades. It takes longer to park because the new protocol includes taking everyone’s temperature and providing a face mask.

The tribe is also providing testing and personal protective equipment for employees. The tribe earned federal recognition in 1962 and founded the Miccosukee Resort & Conference Hotel and the casino in 1999.

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