Mr. James F. Allen Biography

James F. AllenMr. James F. Allen
Commencement Speaker
May 19, 2022

Responsible for all gaming, hospitality and entertainment operations at the Seminole Tribe of Florida since 2001, James F. Allen has guided the development of Seminole Gaming into one of the world’s most successful casino and integrated resort operators, with seven casino locations throughout Florida.  He is a leader in the gaming industry and makes frequent appearances on CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox Business and other national and international financial news networks.

Allen most recently directed the massive expansion of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, where the world’s first Guitar Hotel tower opened in October, 2019, as part of a $2.2 billion capital investment program that also included a major expansion of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.  It is one of the world’s largest and most profitable casinos.

Allen led the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s 2007 acquisition of Hard Rock International, the first acquisition of a major international company by a North American Indian Tribe.  As Chairman of Hard Rock International, Allen oversees all operations of one of the most globally-recognized brands, known for rock music and its signature cafes, hotels, casinos, memorabilia and live concerts.  Under Allen’s leadership, Hard Rock has expanded its global presence from 46 to 68 countries since its 2007 acquisition, with 241 locations including hotels, casinos, Rock Shops, Live Performance Venues and Cafes, plus Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.  He is also driving the 2020 launch of the Hard Rock Digital joint venture, an online sportsbook, retail sportsbook and internet gaming platform.

Seminole Hard Rock and Hard Rock International have racked up multiple recent awards.  In 2021, Hard Rock was awarded the Top Employer in the Travel & Leisure, Gaming, and Entertainment Industry by Forbes, designated as a U.S. Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal and named the top performing hotel brand in J.D. Power’s North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study for the third consecutive year.  In 2020, Hard Rock was honored as one of Forbes Magazine’s Best Employers for Diversity and a Top Employer for Women.  In addition, Seminole Hard Rock was named the top “Employer of Choice” in a survey of 1,064 unique gaming industry executives conducted by Bristol Associates Inc. and Spectrum Gaming Group.

Allen is a gaming industry veteran with 40 years’ experience and he has held executive positions with the Trump Organization, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hemmeter Companies, Park Place Entertainment and Sun International Resorts.  A former member of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission Task Force on Gaming Regulation, Allen has lectured on countless casino industry topics at many professional conferences, governmental programs and college campuses, including the New Jersey Governor’s Business Development Conference and both Harvard and Cornell Universities.

Junior Achievement of South Florida named Allen a Business Hall of Fame Laureate in 2019.  That was followed in 2020 with Allen being inducted into the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship’s Entrepreneur and Business Hall of Fame at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Fla.