In northern California, the Karuk Tribe is continuing work on its new Rain Rock Casino outside the small town of Yreka and expects to open the $30 million development next summer.
According to a report from the Mail Tribune newspaper, the 36,000 sq ft casino in Siskiyou County is set to offer 500 video gaming machines alongside eight gaming tables while some of its 300 employees will also work at an adjacent 100-seat restaurant.
The Karuk Tribe began seeking approvals for Rain Rock Casino in 2004 and had to overcome numerous hurdles including the ratification by state lawmakers of its gaming compact. The 3,700-strong tribe was additionally required to agree deals with county and city officials as well as with the California Department Of Transportation and hopes the coming venture will provide employment in an area that has been severely hit by a recent decline in the timber industry.
The unemployment rate in Siskiyou County currently stands at 6.9% while it is an even higher 9.8% in Yreka. The Karuk Tribe revealed that it has around 420 members in the immediate area but believes the new employment opportunities created by the casino could see many more return to their ancestral lands.
“We’re hoping to see tribal members come back,” Buster Attebery, Chairman for the Karuk Tribal Council, told the newspaper.
In addition to Siskiyou County, the Karuk Tribe is spread across neighboring Humboldt County as well as throughout southern Oregon and it is moreover planning to build 34 low-income houses near the casino in order to accommodate returning members.
Although the majority of the casino’s initial profits are to be used to pay off construction loans, Attebery declared that he hoped proceeds could eventually be exploited to expand health care and social services to tribal members.
He explained that there are also plans in the works for an expansion project that could see Rain Rock Casino add additional car-parking spaces as well as an 80-room hotel with top-floor suites featuring views of Mount Shasta. He stated that this second phase, which would only be started after the existing venue proved itself economically, may moreover include an extra 20,000 sq ft gaming area for 300 more gaming machines and a further eight gaming tables.
Despite operating the Seven Feathers Hotel And Casino Resort only 121 miles away in the Oregon town Canyonville, the Cow Creek Band Of Umpqua Tribe Of Indians has publically supported the Karuk Tribe’s new enterprise as has the casino-operating Coquille Indian Tribe, which hopes to build its latest gambling venture even closer in neighboring Jackson County.
While accepting that the new Rain Rock Casino will have competition, Attebery proclaimed that his tribe’s enterprise will hope to be successful by appealing to a much broader market.
“We want to make this a destination resort where we showcase all of southern Oregon and northern California; the beauty they have to offer and the outdoors,” Attebery told the newspaper.