December 21, 2015
The Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians announced today that they have reached a settlement agreement with National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) that will allow the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino (CRGC) to reopen in the near future.
"This is an important and very good day for our Tribe," Tribal Chairwoman Claudia Gonzales said. "Our new Tribal Council promised our members we would act swiftly to reopen the casino, get our employees back to work and start to rebuild our Tribe's financial and cultural strength, and this agreement is an important step towards those goals. We appreciate the efforts of Madera County, state and local agencies and the National Indian Gaming Commission in securing the agreements to reopen our casino. We are confident we will meet all conditions of the NIGC agreement."
"The casino reopening shows what our Tribe can do when we put aside our differences, and work with accountability and transparency," Tribal Councilmember Morris Reid said. "As we have said since the election, the job of the new council is to bring peace and prosperity back to our people."
"One of our initial pledges as a new council was to establish strong relationships with the county, state and federal government," Councilmember Thomas Walker said. "This agreement demonstrates our work in this area and bodes well for our future government-to-government activities."
The reopening date of the casino will be announce in the coming days, but work is already underway to prepare for the re-opening.
"We are pleased to be able to put more than 1,000 members of our community back to work," Tribal Councilmember Nakomis Hernandez said. "The financial impacts of the re-opening will benefit Madera County, the region and our tribal members significantly."
"This has been many months in the making, we want to thank the NIGC for working diligently with our new team to finalize the agreement that allows Chukchansi Gold to reopen," said Christian Goode Chief Operating Officer of Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino. "It's a new day here at the casino and we are busy with the work of returning it to the world-class destination it once was."
In the year since the NIGC ordered the casino closed, the tribe has worked tirelessly to reverse course, right its internal management, install a seasoned casino operations and oversight team, develop a security protocol with Madera County and the State of California, and worked with the NIGC to reach a settlement that was satisfactory to all parties. Once open, the casino will once again begin to drive revenue into the tribe and become the economic engine the region has been lacking since the casino was closed.
Previously, the tribe had announced that they struck a deal with Unite Here! Local 19 to restore the jobs and benefits to the hundreds of employees who lost their jobs when the casino closed in October 2014. Later, the tribe announced the addition of Phil Hogen, former Chairman of the NIGC during the Bush Administration, and Joseph Smith, former audit Director for the NIGC to the tribe's gaming commission.
These appointments, along with the new casino management, will ensure timely audits and transparency, both crucial factors in the NIGC settlement agreement.
When it reopens, CRGC will reopen its doors with more than 56,000 square feet of gaming space featuring more than 1,700 reel and video slot machines and 36 table games. The casino will also boast seven world-class restaurants.
Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino features live table games, reel and video slot machines, a 300-seat award winning buffet, a world-class steakhouse, more than 400 luxurious hotel rooms and suites, a full service spa and various other amenities.
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