The North Fork Rancheria Hotel & Casino Resort, designed in Madera County, was granted final approval by the California Supreme Court.
The court ruled that former Gov. Jerry Brown acted within his authority when he agreed with federal decisions in 2011 which led to the approval of two tribal gaming projects “off reservation” in Madera and Yuba counties, reports The Business Journal. In the case of the United Auburn Indian Community v. Newsom California Supreme Court the governor was ruled to have the freedom to consent.
Plans built by the North Fork Mono Indian Tribe for the casino and hotel resort will now be able to move forward.
North Fork Rancheria Tribal Chair Elaine Bethel-Fink said in a press release: “We are thrilled that the Court has finally decided this case in our favour.
Our tribal citizens and local community have been denied the advantages of tribal gaming – billions of dollars in economic benefits and thousands of jobs – for far too long.”
The court case has been going for about 10 years. For nearly two decades the Mono Indian Tribe of the North Fork has been trying to create a casino. In 2003, the tribe had an agreement with Las Vegas-based Station Casinos to build a casino, and in 2004 it asked the federal government to take the planned site in confidence near the City of Madera for gaming purposes.
The Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, after federal review, determined that the project would be in the best interests of the tribe and not detrimental to the surrounding community, and requested Gov. Brown ‘s competition to move forward, which occurred a year later in 2012.
The new casino is planned to include 2,000 slot machines, 40 table games and a 200-room hotel, adjacent to Highway 99 at Avenue 17.
Bethel-Fink said: “While we firmly believe that only federal law controls the gaming eligibility of our trust lands, we are nonetheless delighted to have this long drawn out drama finally behind us — and eager to get going and bring jobs and economic opportunity to our people and community!”
The Mono Indians North Fork Rancheria is a federally recognised Native American tribe in Madera County with more than 2,200 tribal members and government offices.