In California, the plan from the Wilton Rancheria to build and operate a $500 million casino resort in Sacramento County has reportedly been officially signed off by Governor Jerry Brown with the tribe now expected to begin construction as early as the summer.
According to a report from The Sacramento Bee newspaper, the Democratic governor put his signature to Assembly Bill 1606 on Tuesday to ratify the federally-recognized tribe’s gaming compact with the state. This measure was unanimously approved by the California State Assembly and the California State Senate in early-September. Gov. Brown had purportedly indicated as far back as July that he would be supportive of the then-proposed legislation.
“The Governor’s signature represents the culmination of so much hard work over the past several years,” read a statement from Raymond Hitchcock, Chairman for the Wilton Rancheria.
The newspaper reported that the Wilton Rancheria in partnership with Las Vegas-based operator Boyd Gaming Corporation purchased a 35.9-acre plot of land from real estate developer The Howard Hughes Corporation in February of 2015 for $36 million. Its plan for the site in the small city of Elk Grove calls for the construction of a twelve-story hotel along with a spa, 30,000 sq ft events space, fitness center and casino complete with some 2,500 slots and around 84 gaming tables.
Hitchcock reportedly told the Elk Grove Laguna News online news domain that a ‘best case scenario’ would see construction on the as yet unnamed facility some 15 miles southeast of the city of Sacramento begin in the summer with an anticipated opening date around 18 to 24 months after the initiation of these building works.
“Our Tribe of 758 members is sincerely grateful to the Governor and the legislature and especially [California State] Assembly member Jim Cooper for their support,” Hitchcock reportedly told Elk Grove Laguna News. “We thank the businesses, labor leaders, local government officials and, most important, the many members of the community who voiced strong support for the compact. Now, we will focus on resort project planning and development.”
Assembly Bill 1606 reportedly stipulates that the Wilton Rancheria hand over 6% of any net slot revenues from the future casino to a state-run fund that will subsequently distribute this cash to aboriginal groups in California that do not operate gambling facilities. However, it moreover includes an initial seven-year holiday from when the venue welcomes its first players due to the fact that the tribe has already agreed to give millions of dollars to Elk Grove and Sacramento County in order to alleviate any future potential traffic, public safety and social impacts.
Despite Brown’s signing of Assembly Bill 1606, the Elk Grove Laguna News additionally reported that the Wilton Rancheria development still faces opposition from a local anti-casino group known as Stand Up For California!. This faction purportedly filed a motion with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on Sunday asking for a reversal to the January 19 land-into-trust decision from the United States Department of the Interior that gave the tribe permission to operate a gambling facility on the Elk Grove site.