In California, Democratic governor Jerry Brown has signed an updated gambling compact with the Buena Vista Rancheria Of Me-Wuk Indians following a federal ruling in favor of the tribe’s casino aspirations.
According to a report from The Sacramento Bee newspaper, the small central Californian tribe has waged a decade-plus legal battle against local officials for the right to construct a new casino on 67.5 acres of land about five miles south of the town of Ione.
The Buena Vista Rancheria Of Me-Wuk Indians signed a casino deal with Amador County in 2008 after over two years of negotiations that would have seen the tribe pay an $18 million lump sum as well as $8 million a year to offset the impacts of any new development including the costs of law enforcement.
However, local authorities later refused to authorize the agreement, which would have restricted the tribe to 950 slot machines, even after an independent arbitrator upheld the terms of the proposed arrangement.
This case made it all the way to the US District Court For The District Of Columbia where mid-March saw federal judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein rule against the county’s assertion that the proposed site for the casino was not a legal reservation for a gambling development.
The revised compact signed by 78-year-old Brown would allow the Buena Vista Rancheria Of Me-Wuk Indians to operate a casino with up to 2,000 slots although it would be required to negotiate a separate agreement with Amador County for the additional 1,050 machines.
The rural county of around 38,000 residents is already home to the 1,700-slot Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort and officials and residents have vociferously fought the addition of any new casinos such as that sought by the tiny Ione Band Of Miwok Indians near the town of Plymouth and some 40 miles east of Sacramento.