Red Rock Resorts has welcomed a long-awaited Supreme Court ruling in California that clears up a major hurdle in the development of a casino near Madera, California, alongside Mono Indians’ North Fork Rancheria.
The court ruled that former Governor Jerry Brown was acting within his authority when he agreed in 2011 to a pair of federal decisions that led to the approval of two so-called ‘off-reservation’ tribal gaming projects in Madera and Yuba counties.
The decision will enable the Rancheria North Fork to move forward with the design, financing and construction of its long-awaited project north of the town.
Bob Finch, executive vice president and COO of Red Rock Resorts said: “This ruling has been a long time coming for the tribe and we are thrilled to be able to move forward with them on this very attractive project. We expect that the tribe will be announcing more details regarding the casino in the near future.”
The legal case dates back nearly a decade, while the tribe initially agreed with Las Vegas-based Station Casinos in 2003 to pursue the casino development.
The North Fork Rancheria requested the federal government to take the proposed site near Madera in trust for gaming purposes the next year and, after a rigorous and lengthy federal review, it was determined that gaming on the ground would be in the best interests of the tribal community and not detrimental to the community around.
Subsequently gaining the go-ahead from Governor Brown, the interior secretary, opponents eventually challenged his authority to agree, arguing that the Constitution of California required legislative authorisation.
In 2017 the Supreme Court of California agreed to hear challenges to both projects after two court appeals reached different conclusions. It took the court then over 3 years and a half to rule on the matter.
North Fork Rancheria tribal chair Elaine Bethel-Fink noted: “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.”
She added: “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 project’s production and construction was valued at less than $225 m when first announced, and would include 2,000 slot machines, 70 table games and dining, hotel and entertainment facilities.