Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California, recently signed two compacts with the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe which will establish their ability to build casinos in a site picked by Madera County in return for giving up their right to do so on tribal lands which are of great environmental impact. The 305 acre parcel in Madera County will allow for considerable room for the new casino and bring in an estimated 1,500 permanent jobs, as well as temporary construction jobs and other ancillary jobs to support the casino and be run by the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians.
The Wiyot Tribe will receive revenues shared from the casino through a trust set up by the state. The compact will protect wildlife in the Sierra foothills, as well as estuaries that are home to over 200 species of birds, including some endangered species. There will also be charitable foundations set up for the community of Madera. The casino would contribute between 2.5-3.5% of the winnings to go into the state controlled trust, depending on the winning total. The facility will be limited to 280, 000 square feet and 2,000 slot machines initially, with another 500 possible over the contract term of twenty years. The contract also allows for the updating of local roads and efforts to reduce the environmental impact.