Another legal hold-up for planned California tribal casino

Home » Another legal hold-up for planned California tribal casino

In the western American state of California and an appeals court has reportedly temporarily scuppered the plan from the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians to build a new tribal casino on 305 acres of land just north of the city of Madera.

According to a Friday report from The San Joaquin Valley Sun newspaper, the federally-recognized tribe had been planning to break ground on the coming Madera County facility later this month in advance of holding a grand opening ceremony sometime before the end of next year. The finished 213,000 sq ft enterprise was purportedly due to be run by the Station Casinos enterprise of Las Vegas-headquartered Red Rock Resorts Incorporated and feature a 200-room hotel as well as a gaming floor offering a selection of some 2,000 slots as well as 40 gaming tables.

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Earlier efforts:

With its traditional homeland in the southern Sierra Nevada foothills of ‘The Golden State’, the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians had reportedly already overcome a long-running legal challenge from the United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria, which is responsible for California’s 300-room Thunder Valley Casino Resort, and was eager to open its gambling-friendly enterprise moreover offering a pair of standalone restaurants in addition to a ‘food hall’ concept.

Serious setback:

However, the newspaper reported that this plan from the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians has now fallen foul of a ruling from the California Fifth District Court of Appeal that could end up wrecking the entire project. This May 13 decision came after the Stand Up for California! anti-casino activist group lodged a triumphant lawsuit that named both the tribe and the state as defendants.

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Foundational flop:

In its legal action, the Stand Up for California! plaintiff reportedly argued that the 2012 gaming compact the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians inked with then-Governor Jerry Brown had been invalidated by the failure to pass Proposition 48 some two years later. This measure, which was officially known as the Indian Gaming Compacts Referendum, purportedly came after the Democrat had signed off on a United States Department of the Interior decision to place the 305-acre site just off of the Golden State Highway into trust for the purposes of hosting a tribal casino.

Chief contention:

But, Stand Up for California! reportedly managed to successfully argue last month that the casino should not be allowed because California voters had overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 48, which would have approved the deal between the tribe and the state, by a margin of 61% to 39%.

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Reportedly read the ruling from the California Fifth District Court of Appeal…

“We conclude the people retained the power to annul a concurrence by the Governor and the voters exercised this retained power at the 2014 election by impliedly revoking the concurrence for the Madera site.”

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