This afternoon Gov. Jerry Brown has announced he has signed a tribal-state gaming compact with the Wilton Rancheria for their proposed $400-million casino resort in Elk Grove.
The announcement said the terms of the agreement, which include "licensing, regulatory oversight, labor, public health and safety, environmental protection, mutually beneficial investments in the local community and revenue sharing – are similar to those in recent compacts." The entire compact can be viewed here.
The proposed casino has been strongly supported by Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly and the City Council and has been sold to residents as a way to jump start the completion of the Howard Hughes Corporation's unfinished Outlet Collection at Elk Grove. HHC sold a 35.9-acre parcel of that development, which has languished for nine years this month, to Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming, the tribes financial backer.
Although the casino has received the steadfast support of Elk Grove elected officials, the issue has created fissures in the community. Resident supporters point to the 2,000 jobs the facility will create while detractors have expressed concern the casino will be a crime magnet.
Brown's announcement follows another favorable development for the tribe when the Bureau of Indian Affairs late last week rejected an administrative appeal filed by Stand Up For California!, an Indian gaming and casino watchdog group. SUFC sought a reversal of the decision to place the land in federal trust saying the person who took action was not legally authorized to do so.
“We are excited and grateful to the governor for his leadership in this effort,” Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond C. Hitchcock said in a press release issued today. “This is an important day for our people."
Following Brown's approval, the compact must now be approved by the State Senate and Assembly. At last night's town hall meeting in Elk Grove, Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D - Elk Grove), who supports the project, said the compact should be heard next month.
Commenting earlier this week on the rejection of their administrative appeal with the BIA, SUFC's Cheryl Schmit stated that they would continue seeking other legal remedies. "The dismissal of the administrative appeal does not change or damage any of our arguments going forward," she said.