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California approves new $500m tribal casino development

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wiltonrancheria
cials from the California state assembly have ratified a tribal gaming compact for the Wilton Rancheria tribe, paving the way for the tribe to develop a $500m casino in Elk Grove.

Elk Grove Assemblyman Jim Cooper introduced bill AB1606, which was approved by a unanimous 68-0 vote late on Thursday. The compact will now be passed to California State Governor Jerry Brown for final sign off before being vetted by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Speaking after the vote, Cooper said: “This is an important milestone for Wilton Rancheria, the people of Elk Grove and the Sacramento Region.

“I was proud to author this legislation and I am proud of my colleagues in the Legislature for giving it their overwhelming support.”

Wilton Rancheria’s tribal status was terminated in 1958, and the Tribe was finally restored, without land, in 2009, after a long-fought campaign by tribal elders.

The Wilton tribe is planning to build a casino on 36 acres on the site of a defunct mall on the south side of Elk Grove, having purchased the land from The Howard Hughes Corporation earlier this year. This land was then placed into trust by the US Federal Government, as required by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (1988).

Its proposed Elk Grove casino would include 110,000 square feet of gaming floor, multiple restaurants, a spa, a 302-room hotel tower and a convention centre. The newly approved state compact allows the tribe to operate up to 2,500 gaming devices.

In a statement, Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond C. Hitchcock said: “We are extremely pleased and humbled by the strong support the Tribe has received from the community, the Legislature and the Governor,”

“It’s a very good day for the 750 members of Wilton Rancheria, the community of Elk Grove and the greater Sacramento region. Now it’s time to get on with building this project, which will create thousands of jobs and invest of hundreds of millions of dollars to improve city and country services.

“The vote represents a huge step forward in our long journey to have land, a home and a place where we can pursue our economic development goals.”


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