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Tribe’s attorney, gaming pioneer Jim Shore receives hall of fame honor

LAS VEGAS — The American Gaming Association (AGA) added the Seminole Tribe’s Jim Shore to its gaming hall of fam
Oct. 5 in Las Vegas at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E).

Shore was one of six inductees to receive the honor this year – three in the class of 2020 and three, including Shore, in the class of 2021. The two classes were grouped together because G2E was canceled last year due to the pandemic.

The inductees were introduced as gaming pioneers by AGA president Bill Miller. “All of them have contributed mightily to the success of our industry,” he said.

Shore is the Tribal Council’s general counsel. He most recently helped lead negotiations of the historic gaming compact between the tribe and the state of Florida that would allow sports betting and the addition of craps and roulette to the tribe’s Florida casinos.

Shore grew up on the Brighton Reservation with his two brothers and four sisters where the family raised cattle. He earned his law degree from the Stetson University College of Law. He was the first tribal member to practice law, becoming deputy general counsel in 1981 and general counsel in 1982.

In addition to gaming issues, he has worked to preserve the tribe’s natural resources and protect its water rights – including the impacts of Everglades restoration and Lake Okeechobee water management, which directly affects the
Brighton and Big Cypress reservations.

The Tribal Council’s General Counsel Jim Shore, left, receives his hall of fame award after being introduced by Hard Rock International Chairman and Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen at the American Gaming Association’s hall of fame ceremony Oct. 5 in Las Vegas. (Photo Amar Batra)

Shore was recognized at an invitation-only event at the Venetian Resort on the Las Vegas Strip in an event space with about 150 people – a who’s who of the global gaming industry. Members of the tribe’s leadership were in attendance, including Chairman Marcellus W. Osceola Jr., Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola and Brighton Councilman Larry Howard. Hard Rock International chairman and Seminole Gaming CEO, Jim Allen, and Shore’s executive assistant since 1989, Agnes Motlow, were also at the event.

In a video tribute before he took the stage, Shore was described by longtime colleague Jerry Straus of Hobbs Straus
Dean & Walker as “a very nice guy and great listener with a razor sharp mind,” who “maintained his traditional ways and never lost that connection.” Allen then assisted Shore to the stage to introduce him to the audience. (Shore has been blind since a car accident in 1970).

“He was there in 1979 where it all started with the Seminole Tribe of Florida,” Allen said.

The tribe, known as a pioneer of Indian gaming, opened its high-stakes bingo hall on the Hollywood Reservation in 1979. More than four decades later, Indian gaming accounts for almost half of all gaming revenue in the U.S.

“That basically all started with the Seminole Tribe and there’s only one consistent thing we can talk about when we reference that, and that’s the legendary Jim Shore,” Allen said. “It’s amazing to look at all the legal decisions that he was involved in on behalf of the tribe. But what you don’t know about Mr. Shore is that he’s also the business mind of the tribe.”

Allen said Shore was front and center when the tribe bought Hard Rock International – “…which was the largest transaction in the history of Indian Country. Mr. Shore was the leader of that,” Allen said.

“Mr. Shore is by far the most humble individual that I’ve ever worked with in my career. He’ll never take credit for all the amazing things that have occurred under not just his leadership but his wisdom,” Allen added.

Shore told the audience that when the Seminole Tribe started what was then termed “unlimited bingo” in 1979 that at the time no one knew that it would open up Indian gaming to other tribes.

Jim Shore speaks at the American Gaming Association’s hall of fame ceremony in Las Vegas. (Photo Damon Scott)

“I think it has changed the lives of many Indian tribes across the country,” Shore said. “Many tribes have been able to do things that have never been done before.”

Shore said the Seminole Tribe has also not been one to “sit idly by” after achieving successes over the years.

“If anything new is going to happen in the area of gaming I suspect the Seminole Tribe will always be there, if we don’t initiate the move ourselves. Maybe it’s time we start looking at outer space or something,” Shore said with a smile. “That’s what the Seminole Tribe is known for. We don’t sit there and wait for something to happen. We go out there and make things happen.”

Joining Shore as inductees were Knute Knudson Jr., VP of global business development and tribal ambassador, IGT;
Jeremy M. Jacobs, chairman, Delaware North and Boston Bruins owner; James R. Maida, president and CEO, Gaming
Laboratories International; Jeffrey A. Silver, of counsel, Dickinson Wright PLLC; and Dr. Mark Yoseloff, retired chairman/CEO, Shuffle Master Inc. and founder, UNLV Center for Gaming Innovation.

The AGA has held 32 hall of fame inductions since 1989.

Jim Shore, left, is joined at the event by his longtime executive assistant Agnes Motlow. (Photo Damon Scott)
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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at damonscott@semtribe.com.
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