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Elk Grove, California In Final Stages Of Approving A Tribal Casino

Proposed Casino Wilton RancheriaThe city council of Elk Grove, Sacramento County, California has tentatively agreed to the development of a casino by a local Native American tribe which will be located next to an upcoming mall on Highway 99.

The council is scheduled to vote later this week on the agreement. Under the terms of the deal, the casino will be operated by the 700-member Wilton Rancheria tribe and will pay the community around $132 million over a period of 20 years towards mitigating the impact of the casino on the region.

The tribe plans to develop a 12-storey hotel with 300 rooms and a convention centre in addition to bars, restaurants and a large gambling floor.

Raymond C. Hitchcock, Wilton Rancheria Chairman said that it might take up to five years to hold the casino’s groundbreaking ceremony, but promised a world-class luxury resort once developed.

KCRA News

Hitchcock stated that the casino will be developed in partnership with Nevada casino operator Boyd Gaming Corp.

With several casinos spread around in nearby counties, the region already has a crowded gambling market. The Red Hawk Casino in Shingle Springs, the Jackson Rancheria in Amador County and Cache Creek Casino Resort in Yolo County are just some of the casinos in the region.

Elk Grove’s proposed casino will be located on one of the major freeways in the area which would put it in direct competition with one of the most successful regional casinos in the Thunder Valley Casino Resort.

In a statement George Forman, a tribal gambling attorney based in San Rafael, said,

It stands to reason that if you put up a big casino next to a freeway and close to Sacramento, that facility is going to draw business. I think you’re going to see tremendous competition.

Communications consultant Doug Elmets who is representing Thunder Valley and Jackson Rancheria also noted that the new project is bound to draw attention in a competitive market. The proposal to develop a casino in the city has drawn mixed reactions from the public. In the several well-attended public sessions held so far, there has been ongoing debate on whether the casino will deliver significant economic benefits to the city residents or cause negative impact on the city’s quality of life.

A successful vote will not however guarantee the casino’s development since the tribe will need to negotiate and agree on a compact with the state’s Governor. It also needs to gain approvals from the U.S. Department of the Interior as well as the National Indian Gaming Commission for acquiring the land, which is owned by The Howard Hughes Corp.


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