On Wednesday, a formal agreement between the Jamul Indian Village and San Diego County regarding the tribe’s long-planned casino on its reservation was approved by the Board of Supervisors.
While the $360 million Hollywood Casino located off state Route 94 is being built on the tribe’s land, some of the reservation’s access and the majority of the surrounding property belong to the county, with the California Department of Transportation responsible for the highway.
Voting for the agreement were Supervisors Ron Roberts, Dave Roberts, and Bill Horn; Jamul resident and Supervisor Dianna Jacob dissented while Supervisor Greg Cox was not present for the vote. As noted by the county clerk, 100 of the nearly 200 people who attended the meeting voted for the agreement and 50 voted against. Nearly complete, the three-story casino is expected to open this summer, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
A 1999 gaming compact between the state and the tribe signed by then-Governor Gray Davis allows business agreements, among other things, between governments and tribes, including the opening of gaming facilities. To lessen environmental effects of the development beyond the reservation, the Jamul tribe agreed to make “good faith efforts” as part of the compact. In keeping with those efforts, the tribe has agreed to pay nearly $86,000 to the county. For extra public safety, more than $275,000 has been promised to the Sheriff’s Department beginning in 2016-17.
The tribe isn’t legally required to have a business agreement with San Diego County due to its sovereign nation status, nor does it need any support from the county to open its casino. However, according to Jamul Indian Village Tribal Chairwoman Erica Pinto, the tribe wants to do the right thing for the community and be a good neighbor. During the meeting, the tribe also agreed to provide almost $4 million for the improvement of county roads, including the addition of a traffic signal at Otay lakes Road and another left-turn lane on Steele Canyon Road.
Construction on “Hollywood Casino” began in 2015, but the Jamul tribe has been planning it since the 1990’s. The property will be managed by Pennsylvania-based Penn National Gaming, as well as providing funding for the development of the resort. The 200,000 square foot gaming and entertainment facility is expected to have more than 1,700 slot machines, 50 live table games, bars, lounges, restaurants, and an underground parking structure with approximately 1,900 spaces.