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Rating Action:

Moody's confirms Seminole Tribe's Ba1 CFR and assigns stable rating outlook

Global Credit Research - 02 Nov 2010

New York, November 02, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service today confirmed The Seminole Tribe of Florida's ("Tribe") Ba1 Corporate Family and Probability of Default ratings. The Tribe's Ba1 rating on the Gaming Division bonds and Ba2 rating on the Special Obligation Bonds were also confirmed. Moody's also assigned a Ba1 rating to the Tribe's proposed $37.4 million Series 2010A tax-exempt Gaming Division bonds due 2017 and $330 million Series 2010B taxable Gaming Division bonds due 2017.

This rating action concludes the review process that was initiated on June 7, 2010. The rating outlook is stable.

New ratings assigned:

$37.4 million tax-exempt Gaming Division Bonds due 2017 at Ba1 (LGD 3, 38%)

$330 million taxable Gaming Division Bonds due 2017 at Ba1 (LGD 3, 38%)

Ratings confirmed and LGD assessments revised where applicable:

Corporate Family Rating at Ba1

Probability of Default Rating at Ba1

$1,006.3 billion Gaming Division term loan at Ba1 (LGD 3, 38%)

$280 million 6.535% Gaming Division bonds Series 2005 B at Ba1 (LGD 3, 38%)

$246 million 5.798% Gaming Division bonds Series 2005 A at Ba1 (LGD 3, 38%)

5.250% $113 million Special Obligation Bonds to Ba2 (LGD 6, 90% from LGD 5, 89%)

5.750% $60.2 million Special Obligation Bonds to Ba2 (LGD 6, 90% from LGD 5, 89%)

5.50% $66.3 million Special Obligation Bonds to Ba2 (LGD 6, 90% from LGD 5, 89%)

7.804% $219 million Special Obligation Bonds to Ba2 (LGD 6, 90% from LGD 5, 89%)

8.030% $105 million Special Obligation Bonds to Ba2 (LGD 6, 90% from LGD 5, 89%)

RATINGS RATIONALE

The confirmation of the Tribe's Ba1 Corporate Family Rating reflects the settlement of the National Indian Gaming Commission's Notice of Violations and the resolution of an Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") audit. Additionally, the confirmation acknowledges that the Tribe's gaming compact is no longer being challenged with respect to its validity. The Tribe entered into a new gaming compact with the State of Florida, which was approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior on June 24, 2010 and published in the Federal Register on July 6, 2010.

The Ba1 Corporate Family Rating incorporates the Tribe's dominant market position in the Florida gaming market, the company's strong financial profile -- debt/EBITDA is below 2.5 times -- and good liquidity. Key concerns include the Tribe's gaming concentration in one state, the significant dividend obligation and other risks common to Native American issuers, and past history of corporate governance challenges at the Tribe level. There have not been corporate governance concerns at the Gaming Division.

On October 19, 2010, the Tribe approved and Agreed to a Civil Fine Assessment with the National Indian Gaming Commission in which the Tribe admitted to the violations set forth in the Notice of Violation issued on June 3, 2010, agreed to expand its internal audit function, and agreed to pay a $500,000 fine to be paid over a three year period.

On October 13, 2010, the Tribe approved a Closing Agreement on Final Determination Covering Specific Matters with the IRS in which the Tribe acknowledged that it made payments to employees for which no or insufficient taxes had been withheld. As part of the settlement, the Tribe agreed to pay the federal tax liabilities of Tribal members who received unreported payments from the Tribe. The Tribe also agreed to report to the IRS all payments to Tribal members.

The stable rating outlook anticipates that the Tribe's gaming division credit metrics will remain strong and its financial policy conservative over the long-term, despite the addition of $387 million of debt used to fund the expansion of its casino facilities. The stable outlook also incorporates Moody's expectation that the Tribe will maintain its dominant market position and competitive advantage in Florida.

Ratings could be downgraded if corporate governance and internal control issues resurface that put the Tribe's gaming operations at risk. Ratings could also be lowered if debt/EBITDA rises above 3.5 times for an extended period of time. Although longer-term ratings improvement is possible, any upgrade would also require that the Tribe demonstrate a significant and sustainable improvement in its corporate governance and internal control practices. A ratings upgrade would also require that operating performance remains strong and that leverage and coverage metrics remain at current levels.

The principal methodologies used in rating Seminole Tribe of Florida were Global Gaming published in December 2009, and Loss Given Default for Speculative-Grade Non-Financial Companies in the U.S., Canada and EMEA published in June 2009.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is a federally recognized Indian tribe that owns and operates seven gaming and resort facilities throughout southern and central Florida. The Tribe also owns Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment, Inc. (B2/negative) which owns and operates Hard Rock cafes located throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Caribbean. The Tribe does not publicly disclose financial information.

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Information sources used to prepare the credit rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, parties not involved in the ratings, public information, confidential and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information, and confidential and proprietary Moody's Analytics information.

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Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on Moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

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New York
Keith Foley
Senior Vice President
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
Peter H. Abdill, CFA
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's Investors Service
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Moody's confirms Seminole Tribe's Ba1 CFR and assigns stable rating outlook
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