The Wilton Rancheria of California is finally seeing action on its proposed casino but the tribe still anticipates a lengthy wait for a decision.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs released a draft environmental impact statement for the project on December 29, 2015. The move came two years after the agency officially started the review process.
But the wait isn't over yet. The BIA still needs to complete a final EIS and then a record of decision and then place land into trust before the tribe can begin work on the casino.
"It is a long, slow process, and this is just one more step to get land in the trust,” Chairman Raymond Hitchcock told The Galt Herald.
The tribe plans to use a 282-acre site in Sacramento County for a 601,780 square-foot facility that would include a 110,260 square-foot gaming floor, a 12-story hotel with 302 rooms, a 48,150-square-foot convention center and a parking lot with 3,500 spaces. The land sits off a major highway near Galt, about 25 miles south of Sacramento.
A public meeting will be held on January 29 to discuss the project. Written comments can be submitted until February 11.
The tribe's federal recognition was reaffirmed in 2009. Presumably, that makes the tribe eligible for an exception in Section 20 of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that applies to newly recognized tribes.