The Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians plans to begin construction of a scaled down off-reservation Class II gaming facility within the next two months. This, according to a federal court filing in Sacramento, California June 15th.
Considered a temporary facility, the venue would be about 10,000 square feet and feature only Class II games, as no state-tribal compact is required for such a venture. Class II gaming includes instant bingo machines that appear for all intents and purposes to be slot machines.
The tribe, with a reservation surrounded by Butte County, has been struggling for years to open a full scale casino on their land-in-trust located in Yuba County. The Yuba land was placed into trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 2012. But several factors have stopped the tribe from developing a facility that would include traditional casino games.
In August of 2012 the tribe signed a Class III compact with the state but it was not approved by lawmakers as rival tribes opposed the land transfer and have sued the BIA.
Governor Brown has since declined to negotiate with the tribe. One development that may be guiding the governor’s decision is the passage last November of a statewide referendum, Proposition 48, that rejected the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians’ bid to build an off-reservation casino. The measure also rejected a gaming compact with the Wiyot Tribe, which would have seen them receive revenues from the the North Fork’s casino.
North Fork Rancheria and Enterprise Rancheria are both suing the governor claiming he has not negotiated in good faith as required by Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Monday’s 60 day notice of construction to the court was part of the rival tribes’ suit against the BIA.
In the filing lawyers for the Enterprise Rancheria stated that their current failure to get a Class III compact “is likely to delay full build-out of the tribe’s Class III approved project for a substantial period of time,” the federal court filing said. “That delay, in turn, will impose substantial additional costs on the tribe and will prevent the tribe and the surrounding community from realizing the benefits of the approved project.”