November 17, 2009
POINT ARENA, CA - The Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians have begun grading a site for a 8,836 square-foot casino which they hope to open in Spring 2010. It is located on tribal land between Manchester and Point Arena, a little over a mile east of Highway 1. The casino will have a barn-like design and feature 249 slot machines.
A tribal spokesman, Anthony Cohen, said "The most exciting thing about the project is that it's being made possible by other tribes. With the economy the way it is, it's very difficult to borrow money, and it's especially difficult to borrow money for gaming enterprises, but what's going on here is the Manchester-Point Arena is working with two other tribes. We can't identify the other tribes yet, because nothing is finalized, but one is a California tribe, the other is a New Mexico tribe, and they are considering and hopefully, ultimately they will decide to go ahead with a loan of $10 million.
"The compacts that were entered into during the Gov. Gray Davis era (1999-2003) call for gaming tribes to pay a fee into the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund. The money in that fund is distributed to tribes that have less than 350 slot machines operating. It comes to a little over $1 million a year that the non-gaming tribes get from this fund. It's a great secondary benefit from those Davis compacts; $1 million a year is not a lot of money for a tribe with thousands of members, but in this case it's enough that tribal lenders see it as security. So we not only have two tribes that are willing to stick their necks out and lend money in these difficult times, but we also have the generosity of all the other tribes who are contributing to the revenue trust fund, enabling the two lending tribes to feel comfortable that this is a safe thing to do."
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