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” Casas says. Gaming experts say Table Mountain is poised to

edit:casino time:2018-11-21

“For a lot of people it might be convenience,” Hansen says. “In the case of building a hotel at Table Mountain, people might stay there for convenience as opposed to coming in from out of town.”

The new project is estimated to cost up to $300 million. It will be self-financed, Casas says. Traffic is expected to double and the tribe is paying a percentage of more than a dozen road and intersection improvements, some as distant as the northern fringes of Fresno and Clovis. These projects will cost $10 million or more, Casas says.

And, new is also in the plans near Porterville, where the Tule River Indian Tribe wants to relocate Eagle Mountain Casino from its out-of-the-way foothill location to the Porterville airport. Tribe officials are hoping for a federal government decision this summer that will allow them to push ahead with their $180 million casino and hotel expansion.

But with other proposals pending, when will there be too much gaming? Or is the Valley approaching oversaturation already?

The North Fork tribe won a round earlier this year in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. when judges ruled that the federal Department of the Interior acted within its authority allowing casino land to be taken into trust for the tribe. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is possible, says Cheryl Schmit, director of Stand Up California, lead plaintiff in the case.


Of course, she has her favorites: “There is one machine we do particularly enjoy and it’s called Hearts Locked, you have to lock the hearts when you get into the bonus round and every time you lock a heart the bonus amount goes up.”


For Table Mountain, reinvention is not in the cards. Casas says the tribe wants to continue to keep the crowd that comes now. Along those lines, he says, the casino also will continue its rule of not serving alcoholic beverages even after the expansion.

Today, pending lawsuits are stopping the Highway 99 proposal by North Fork.

A second Stand Up California case, this one in the California Supreme Court, is yet to be decided, but examines Governor Brown’s ability to approve “off-reservation” gaming. Another Stand Up California case, this one also in process in the California Supreme Court examines Governor Brown’s ability to take state land out of its jurisdiction and use it for an “off-reservation” casino. Schmit says the governor doesn’t have that power.

Still, there are other tribes trying to get in the game. Auberry’s Big Sandy Rancheria has an expansion plan that was held up by the federal government, the Tejon tribe has a proposal near Bakersfield and so does North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians along Highway 99, near Madera.

“The casino resorts in the Central Valley, the bigger ones, have figured out that they need to be entertainment centers and places where people can just gather for an evening,” Rose says. “I don’t think they’re going to have trouble making money.”

“The demographic that gambles in California at these places is starting to decline,” says Hansen. “They tend to be older Americans. As the folks that gamble pass and if they’re not replaced by other folks there is no guarantee there is going to be much of a market, so the market share could become more competitive as the market contracts.”

At a recent meeting, nearby residents had a three-hour window to discuss concerns about Table Mountain’s plans. They finished their comments in about 15 minutes. Nearby residents said they are worried about future traffic and thousands of new homes proposed by developers. But they also said the tribe has been a good neighbor.

Uzzell already enjoys the food and is encouraged to know there will be a better ventilation system, an issue the tribe is anxious to address.




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