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Elk Grove Casino opening late 2021

Tribal Organization: Wilton Rancheria

WILTON RANCHERIA CASINO PROJECT

10436 Grant Line Road
Elk Grove, Sacramento County, CA

Wilton Rancheria plans to build a $500 million resort casino in Sacramento County off Highway 99 at Grant Line Road. It will feature a 110,260 sq-ft gaming floor with 2,000 slots and 84 table games and a 12-story hotel with 302 guest rooms, spa and fitness center and a luxury pool.

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Courtesy of ABC 10 KTTV.

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News Headlines

News Elk Grove casino project delayed until late 2021 January 14, 2020 - This week the Wilton Rancheria chairman announced a one-year delay in the construction of a $500M casino resort in Sacrament County. The groundbreaking is expected this spring followed by 18 months ... Read more News Elk Grove Casino hits another legal roadblock December 6, 2019 - Stand Up for California, an anti-casino activist group, has filed an appeal with the Bureau of Indian Affairs alleging an improper transfer of 36 acres for the casino site ... Read more News Elk Grove casino project starts 'ghost mall' demolition November 29, 2019 - Demolition of the abandoned "ghost mall" is underway in Elk Grove to clear the building site for the $500 casino resort planned by the Wilton Rancheria. Construction on the casino will begin ... Read more News Elk Grove casino court win is appealed October 29, 2019 - Two weeks after a DC federal judge dismissed a lawsuit from an opposition group trying to block construction of the Elk Grove casino, that group Stand Up for California! has filed an appeal based on ... Read more News Elk Grove casino wins final court battle October 16, 2019 - After three years of litigation, a DC federal judge dismissed the final lawsuit against building the Elk Grove casino. The Wilton Rancheria can now finalize plans for their $500M casino in Sacramento County. ... Read more News Elk Grove Casino Project Fights Another Lawsuit July 4, 2019 - The U.S. Dept of Interior and the Wilton Rancheria both filed legal responses yesterday in the U.S. District Court DC for another lawsuit filed by ... Read more More Headlines ...

Casino Project Summary

CONSTRUCTION

  • $500M cost
  • Construction to begin in early 2019
  • Grand opening in late 2021 (last update)

CASINO

  • 110,260 sq-ft gaming floor
  • 2,000 slot machines
  • 84 table games

HOTEL

  • 302 guest rooms and suites
  • 12-story hotel tower
  • Ballroom
  • Spa and fitness center
  • Luxury pool
  • Meeting space

RESTAURANTS

  • Multiple venues including fine dining
  • Bars and lounges
  • Details are pending

EVENTS

  • 30,000 total square-feet of event space
  • Conference center
  • Ballroom
  • Entertainment venue

OTHER

  • Retail outlet stores
  • Movie theatre

In September 2016 the Elk Grove City Council approved a local agreement with the tribe. Wilton Rancheria will pay the city $132 million over 20 years to cover the financial impact of the casino on its community.

The proposed site is "off-reservation" land. The tribe opted to purchase it for a casino and applied to the U.S. Interior Department for special approval. A favorable decision was issued in January 2017 and the land was taken into federal trust.

This prompted opposition groups to appeal the legality of that decision. In July 2017 the Interior Department denied their appeal.

A week later Gov. Jerry Brown announced he had negotiated and signed a gaming compact with the tribe allowing 2,500 slot machines. The compact was then ratified by the legislature and final signoffs and approvals were announced in October 2017.

Preparation of the casino site began Feb 1, 2019 with the demolition and removal of the abandoned Elk Grove Mall. The casino site is at the north end of the mall near Kammerer Road and Highway 99.

Once the casino construction is underway it will take 12-18 months to complete the entire project.

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Gaming

110,260 sq-ft gaming floor
2,000 Slot Machines
84 Table Games
Live Dealer
Live Dealer

Restaurants

Details to be announced.
Multiple venues
Fine dining venue

Events

30,000 total square-feet of event space
Conference center - will be one of the largest in the region
Ballroom
Entertainment venue

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Hotel

12-story hotel tower
302 guest rooms and suites
Spa and fitness center

Parking

Four-story parking garage
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News Articles

Elk Grove casino project delayed until late 2021

January 14, 2020

The $500 million Wilton Rancheria casino resort planned for Elk Grove, California is delayed until late 2021. It was previously targeted to open in late 2020.

This week Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond "Chuckie" Hitchcock made the following announcement:

"Last year, 2019, we had to do some redesign on a few areas that set us back, and now we're getting back on track.

"As far as an update on timing, we're most likely waiting for the spring to hit, so we're not in the wet season, because we have in-ground infrastructure. And it's an 18-month construction process. So, if you do the math, that's late 2021 for opening for the project.

"The project is imminent," he said. "It's going to happen. The light is at the end of the tunnel to get started with this project. The designs are 95% to 99% done. Two areas we're just working on right now are small stuff. But the next project (is to) start digging in the ground and getting it going."

Hitchcock expects the groundbreaking for the casino will be this spring.

In the meantime there is one last legal challenge to resolve. An opposition group, Stand Up for California!, has appealed a federal court ruling regarding the U.S. Interior Department's processing of the tribe's casino application.

Stand Up's director Cheryl Schmit said, "The district court overlooked serious flaws in the (U.S. Department of Interior) public process and hasty environmental analysis, as well as a lack of proper legal authority exercised by an acting official in the waning days of the last administration."

Hitchcock believes the appeal will have no effect on the casino project schedule.

"The lawsuit has no bearing upon our ability to move forward with our project. We're just moving forward, regardless of the white noise that is the appeal from Stand Up."

"Everything we've done has been done correctly. All of the arguments made by Stand Up are baseless and conjecture. We're a tribe, we're from this area and territory. We got restored lands properly, and the decision that was made to put land into trust was done correctly. They're just looking for reasons to conflict."

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Elk Grove Casino hits another legal roadblock

December 6, 2019

Stand Up for California, an anti-casino activist group, has filed an appeal with the Bureau of Indian Affairs alleging the Wilton Rancheria's land-to-trust application was not properly approval by the U.S. Interior Department.

Although the approved application was signed by Lawrence S. Roberts, principal deputy assistant secretary of Indian Affairs, the Director of Stand Up, Cheryl Schmit, cites regulations requiring the final approval must be made by either the secretary or assistant secretary of Indian Affairs. She asserts: "A principal deputy assistant secretary lacks authority to make this decision".

Wilton Rancheria spokesman Bob Magnuson criticized the appeal as "pathetic." He said, "We know there are going to be nuisance lawsuits and that's all this is".

When Lawrence S. Roberts, principal deputy assistant secretary of Indian Affairs, signed the approval it was Jan. 19, 2017, the last day of the Obama administration.

Howard Dickstein, a Sacramento tribal-law attorney, stated "We are in somewhat uncharted waters. This is a murky situation where you have one administration walking out the door, rushing through the process of taking land into trust."

The appeal could now take months for review by the Interior Board of Indian Affairs, an appellate review body under the Secretary of the Interior.

Although the Bureau of India Affairs confirmed last week that the land transfer was completed Feb 10, 2017, it has not been confirmed by publication in the National Register.

Katherine Florey, a professor at the UC Davis School of Law, says this case "could be tied down in litigation for quite a while. Even if the tribe is ultimately successful, it often takes a long time to get there".

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Elk Grove casino project starts 'ghost mall' demolition

November 29, 2019

Courtesy of ABC10

Wilton Rancheria will build a $500 million resort casino in Elk Grove, California at the site of the "ghost mall", an unfinished shopping mall that was abandoned after bankruptcy in 2008. The partially built structure has stood empty since that time.

That situation is now changing. Construction workers are onsite to demolish the northern section of the ghost mall which should take 3-4 weeks. This will clear the building site for the Wilton Rancheria casino which is scheduled to start by the end of December.

At the demolition event, Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond Hitchcock said, "We're starting a new chapter moving closer to a brighter future for our tribal citizens the people of Elk Grove and the greater Sacramento region."

The southern half of the ghost mall is owned by Howard Hughes Corp, which filed for demolition permits last week. The company will clear that section by end of February.

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Elk Grove casino court win is appealed

October 29, 2019

Earlier this month a District of Columbia federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Stand Up for California for the purpose of blocking the Wilton Rancheria from building a casino in Elk Grove, Sacramento County, California.

At that time many considered that decision by U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden to be the winning end to a long legal fight with activist, opposition groups. It was hoped to be the final court battle for the $500 million Elk Grove casino project.

However, two weeks later on Oct. 21, the judicial decision was appealed by Stand Up for California! The group wants to reverse the ruling and has 60 days to provide written arguments that support their appeal.

Their arguments involves the Feb. 10, 2017 decision by the U.S. Department of the Interior to take the Elk Grove casino land into federal trust for the benefit of the tribe.

Stand Up claims that action was taken in an "extraordinarily expedited two-month review at the end of the Obama administration after spending several years reviewing a separate site in Galt."

As a result this "last-minute switch" to the Elk Grove site misled the public, and thus resulted in "an inadequate analysis of the project's impacts."

Wilton Rancheria Tribal Chair Raymond "Chuckie" Hitchcock disagreed with the claims.

"That's just simply not true," he said. "Elk Grove, Galt and Wilton were different alternatives (that) were all being reviewed at the very beginning of the scoping period back in 2013. They all have mounds of environmental documents.

"Did the preferred site change at the end, once it was revealed that the most preferred site and less environmentally impactful was the Elk Grove site? Yes. But was it reviewed and studied to the fullest extent (of) BIA (requirements)? Absolutely."

Hitchcock believes this appeal has no chance of overturning the judge's ruling, and added, "The tribe fully expects to put a shovel in the ground in the very near future, regardless of this frivolous appeal."

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Elk Grove casino wins final court battle

October 16, 2019

A District of Columbia federal judge has dismisses a lawsuit filed by Stand Up for California to block Wilton Rancheria from building a casino in Elk Grove, Sacramento County, California.

U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden issued his ruling Oct 7 and cited the fact that the Elk Grove casino project location was land occupied by Wilton ancestors and located near historical tribal sites. He found "no evidence of a legal or procedural flaw" in the U.S. Interior's decision to take that land into federal trust for the tribe.

Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond Hitchcock issued this statement following the ruling:

"We are gratified by the judge's ruling to decisively reject dishonest arguments put forth by well-funded special interest groups that have tried at every turn to stop our project. We will continue to move ahead with our plans to build the resort and casino."

Hitchcock also said the groundbreaking for the casino is "imminent

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Elk Grove Casino Project Fights Another Lawsuit

July 4, 2019

In another attempt to block construction of the Elk Grove casino project, the activist group Stand Up for California! filed another lawsuit on June 13, 2019 against the U.S. Department of Interior and the Wilton Rancheria that challenges the legality of transferring Elk Grove land owned by the tribe into federal trust for the purpose of building a casino.

The U.S. Department Interior completed the land transfer in Feb 2017. Stand Up for California! wants the U.S. District Court to vacate that land transfer into federal trust and rescind the records of conveyance.

On July 3 both defendants filed their responses with the court. The Bureau of Indian Affairs filed a 20-page report for the federal government claiming a "bad faith" challenge by the plaintiff. The Wilton Rancheria filed a 25-page response in its defense.

Tribal Chairman Raymond Hitchcock said, "I am most confident that the litigation is going to go in our favor in the next few months. The judge will be reviewing all the documents and this salacious litigation put before the tribe by Stand Up for California! for the past two years will finally come to an end in the tribe's favor."

Hitchcock then mentioned the construction schedule may be somewhat delayed pending the court's decision. He feels the construction will likely be completed by the end of 2020 or early 2021.

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Demolition of "Ghost Mall" clears way for Elk Grove casino

March 25, 2019

Courtesy of ABC 10 KTTV.

The casino site for the Wilton Rancheria casino proposed for Elk Grove has been cleared of previous construction projects including the abandoned "Ghost Mall".

Eleven years ago the Howard Hughes Corp began construction on a shopping mall at Highway 99 and Kammerer Road. Construction was stopped and never resumed resulting in the "ghost mall" nickname. Hughes officially abandoned the project earlier this year.

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Another anti-casino lawsuit tossed by federal judge

January 25, 2019

A federal judge has denied a lawsuit filed two years ago by the anti-casino group Stand Up for California! against the U.S. Interior Department and the Wilton Rancheria in an attempt for a restraining order to stop construction of the tribe's casino resort planned for Elk Grove, California.

The lawsuit alleged the inappropriate contact early communications between the federal government and tribe, and all correspondence and documents during that time should be made availabe to the plaintiff.

A decision last week in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. ruled against the activist group. Judge Trevor McFadden wrote "federal regulations require conversations between the department and tribes about the land acquisition process before the release of a decision."

This is the second lawsuit filed against the Elk Grove casino by Stand Up for California! Two years ago a federal court rejected their claim that the Interior Department's approval to place the casino site into federal trust was invalid because it was made by an interim official of that department.

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Wilton chairman predicts casino opening in 2020

January 4, 2019

Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond Hitchcock said last week his tribe expects to finish construction of the Wilton Resort Casino by the end of 2020.

A final determination of the opening date will be announced later based on progress of the project. Hitchcock said "There's no definitive date yet, but we're looking at early 2019 to begin this process, and it's slated for completion by late 2020."

Construction is expected to take 12-18 months to complete.

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Big Step - Fed approves management contract for Elk Grove casino

November 07, 2018

On October 31 the management contract for the proposed Elk Grove casino was approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

The proposed casino will be owned by the Wilton Rancheria tribe. Boyd Gaming will be partnering with the tribe for the casino project. One reason why approval must be given from the commission is to be sure that the tribe is not taken advantage of.

The environmental impact statement was also submitted with the management contract. The U.S. Department of the Interior completed the report previously as part of the process for taking land into trust for the tribe. This occurred last year.

The tribe is now a step closer to receiving their final approval to build their casino. If progress continues to be made, the Elk Grove casino could open by late 2020.

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Elk Grove Casino receives formal Federal approval

January 23, 2018

Elk Grov Casino

The gaming compact between the state of California and the Wilton Rancheria tribe has been approved. On January 22 a notice of federal register was published by the U.S. Department of Interior. The Elk Grove casino will be allowed to be operated under the approval of the compact.

The casino resort will be built near Kammerer Road off Highway 99 at a cost of $500 million. Ground breaking could be scheduled as earlier as Summer 2019. It is estimated that the project could be completed in 18 months to 2 years.

In 2009 tribal status was restored to the Wilton Rancheria. In February 2017 land was placed into trust. The property is 36 acres and was purchased for $36 million.

Boyd Gaming has partnered with the tribe for the casino operations.

Construction for the casino resort will create 1,600 jobs. When that is completed, full time positions for employment will be 1,750. It is possible that an additional 3,000 jobs could also be created based on indirect and direct support businesses for the project.

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Elk Grove Casino Wins! Federal Lawsuit Dismissed!

March 1, 2018

On Wednesday a federal judge, yet again, sided with the Wilton Rancheria tribe in another lawsuit that would prevent the tribe from moving land into trust for their future casino.

The land is located in Elk Grove. It consists of 35.9 acres.

It was decided that authority to move the land into trust was lawful when it was approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs principal deputy assistant secretary, Larry Roberts.

The ruling resulted in excitement from the tribe. After a multitude of lawsuits, the ruling moved the proposed casino project another step forward into becoming reality.

They were grateful that the trust was upheld and that there were supported by the federal government. The tribe will be able to keep their right to their sovereign land.

The organization that was attempting to stop the tribe is Stand Up for California. After the ruling, the group was determined to file a different complaint for other federal law violations committed. This includes the National Environmental Policy Act and Indian Reorganization Act. The project has also be opposed by residents of Elk Grove and owners of card rooms that are concerned about how the casino would effect their businesses.

The approval of the casino was also the center of an additional lawsuit. Officials for Elk Grove were accused of working with the tribe to move the project forward in an illegal way. However, in December a request for dismissal was filed by the plaintiffs.

Located close to Highway 99 the casino will be developed next to an outlet mall.

Boyd Gaming has decided to partner with the tribe to develop the $400 million project. Plans include a casino, convention center, and hotel.

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News Headlines Continued

News Demolition of "Ghost Mall" clears way for Elk Grove casino March 25, 2019 - The "ghost mall" in Elk Grove has been demolished and cleared for the pending construction of the new Wilton Rancheria casino. The casino opening will be in late 2020. ... Read more News Another anti-casino lawsuit tossed by federal judge January 25, 2019 - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Stand Up for California! in an attempt to stop construction of the casino resort planned for Elk Grove, CA. ... Read more News Wilton chairman predicts casino opening in 2020 January 4, 2019 - Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond Hitchcock said last week his tribe expects to finish constructionof their Wilton Resort Casino by the end of 2020. ... Read more News Big Step - Fed approves management contract for Elk Grove casino November 07, 2018 - The Wilton Rancheria casino moved a step closer to final approval when the the National Indian Gaming Commission approved a management contract between the tribe and Boyd Gaming. ... Read more News Elk Grove Casino Wins! Federal Lawsuit Dismissed!
March 1, 2018 - A federal judge, yet again, sided with the Wilton Rancheria tribe in another lawsuit that would prevent the tribe from moving land into trust for their future casino. ... Read more
News Elk Grove Casino receives formal Federal approval
01.23.2018 - The gaming compact between the state of California and the Wilton Rancheria tribe has been approved. On January 22 a notice of federal register was published ... Read more
10.03.2017 Elk Grove Casino gets greenlight to build $400 million casino 07.18.2017 Elk Grove Casino close to final approval 09.27.2016 Agreement Made for Proposed Elk Grove Casino 06.12.2016 Alt Location Announced for Wilton Rancheria Casino 06.05.20097 Wilton Rancheria recognized as sovereign tribe
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