In a Notice of Availability of a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Jamul Indian Village (JIV) Proposed Gaming Management Agreement, released on the Federal Register Monday by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) the agency noted that the JIV would not need a Gaming Management Agreement (GMA) in order to open and run the casino enterprise themselves. The statement echoed multiple questions from 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Morgan Brenda Christen in a December 2015 hearing on the matter, where several times it was asked and answered whether the tribe actually needed a GMA in order to open and operate the casino.
There’s been no public discussion in regards to a potential name change for Hollywood Casino Jamul if no GMA is in place by opening day.
The tribe plans to open a $390 million casino resort outside of San Diego in association with a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn National Gaming this summer. Under the current plan, Penn National’s San Diego Gaming Ventures would manage the enterprise for seven years. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act stipulates that the NIGC must review any GMA, and as part of that review the agency published a Notice of Availability for the draft statement this week. In the release the NGIC stated that the JIV, “would assume operation and management responsibilities of the Jamul Gaming Facility,” even without agency approval of a management agreement.
A highly active group opposed to the casino has been trying through public relations, awareness, and court proceedings to stop the casino from opening. Last year the Jamul Action Committee sought a preliminary injunction from U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller, who denied the motion in May, precipitating the opponent’s filing of an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Three judges heard the case in December but have not handed down an opinion yet.
Expected to open in July, the project has been mired in controversy with many nearby residents vehemently opposing the casino for various reasons including traffic safety and needed improvements to nearby roads and state Route 94. The Jamul Indian Village has been fighting to establish a casino since 1993 and have seen several potential development partners in that time including Lake Entertainment and Stations Casinos before Penn National agreed to lend the Hollywood name and their gaming expertise to the project.