Even after various legal set-backs, an anti-casino activist group is continuing its push in federal court to stop the development of a $360 million Native American casino hotel under the Hollywood brand from going up near San Diego, California. The self-named Jamul Action Committee along with a church and a handful of local residents are trying to get the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to buy into their claims that four pieces of land, upon which the casino is being built, are not a reservation.

The claims were made in a request for a partial summary judgement.

The group contends that the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) must be the agency to determine that land has reservation status, not the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). In 2013  the NIGC released a notice of intent to work up an environmental impact statement – a step needed in advance of a gaming management contract.

Last May, U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller tossed the group’s motion for a preliminary injunction that sought to force the NIGC to do the environmental review and block construction of the casino. This was the court action that brought the case before the Ninth Circuit of Appeals.

The Jamul Indian Village and their partners in the project, Penn National Gaming announced in late June that they had placed the final beam on top of the casino and held a “topping off” ceremony to mark the occasion.

In November, Moody’s Investment Service assigned a rating of B3 to the project’s debt, saying that between $25 million and $30 million could be generated in annual cash flow from the project.

Named in the original 2013 suit are Penn National Gaming, its subsidiary San Diego Gaming Ventures LLC, general contractor C.W. Driver Inc., the NIGC, the DOI, individual federal officials, and tribal members. In May Mueller found her court had no jurisdiction over the tribal members who are protected by sovereign immunity. The case is Jamul Action Committee et al v. Stevens et al.

Expected to be completed and opened this summer, the Hollywood Casino Jamul will include some 1,700 slot machines, 43 live dealer table games and 7 poker tables along with multiple food and beverage outlets, a rooftop beer garden, and an enclosed underground parking garage with nearly 2,000 spaces.

The Jamul Indian Village is going forward under a 1999 Gaming Compact with the State of California and have introduced nearly a dozen significant design changes to mitigate any perceived impact to quality of life in the community about 20 miles east of San Diego including potable water consumption and waste-water generation, Dark sky ordinance compliance, and structure heights to name a few.


5 Responses

  1. Bubba Watson

    You forgot to mention that the “tribe” kicked out members that were against the casino at gun point and bulldozed down their homes, saying they really werent native Americans.There are only a few members on this land and it is only about five acres with a horrible traffic problem on the narrow two lane road. Oh and of course the site was built on top of those evicted families ancestors graves, but who cares about a few families when you can make 30 million a year for the suits. The article makes it sound like there is only a few wackos opposed to this project, while infact the whole community around the area is opposed but through [redacted: unsubstantiated allegation] and underhanded tactics got it through in spite of the many problems it will cause.

    • Avatar photo
      Lars Jones

      Thank you for your comments and perspective. We realize emotions run high in such a hotly contested issue. Through the many years of my awareness of the Jamul plan and extensive research I have not seen any substantiated claims of [redacted: reference to unsubstantiated allegation]. My reading of the history and legal proceedings shows that the project has advanced in a legal manner, albeit not without opposition, over the last 15+ years.
      Thank you for reading World Casino News. Your comments are most welcome and always solicited. Thank you for sharing them with our readers.

      • JACJAMUL

        Lars, you do understand that there are still pending lawsuits regarding the legality of the tribe, CEQA violations, and public safety? The plan to dump waste-water into a state owned ecological preserve? This tribal entity and their financial backer have completely disregarded the community and surrounding area. They claim they are opening in the summer of 2016 but do not have a permit from the the CA dept of transportation to access the property from a state highway. Illegal in the eyes of the state of CA. Penn National has claimed they are managing the property but do not have an approved management contract from the NIGC. Illegal in the eyes of the federal government. So, NO, the project has not moved forward in a legal manner. You are completely wrong.

  2. Avatar photo
    Lars Jones

    Thank you for reading World Casino News and providing your perspective. I think our readers are astute enough to gather that because there are issues still before the courts, that not all matters have been settled. They can also view the video above (made public by the 9th CCoA) and form their own opinions on issues raised in those proceedings (albeit in a glossary sense unless they seek out full briefs, etc.). My comment that, “the project has advanced in a legal manner” is based on a snapshot of where the casino is today in relation to historic court decisions on writs, injunctions, stays, dismissals, etc.
    Our job here is to report the news. If there is a factual error in my report please let us know so that it can be corrected or retracted. If the ‘tone’ of the article is unpleasing to you, by all means you are welcome to comment and provide your prospective and we appreciate your contributions. We can’t however allow criminal allegations (in re the previous commenter) to stand without substantiation, and if you read my response again, in absolute context, I think you may agree it is not “absolutely wrong”.
    Thank you again for reading the World Casino News and please feel free to contact us if we miss any important developments.


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