California’s Largest Casino Set to Open
This week the Graton Resort & Casino will be opened in California by the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria. The $800 million development will be the closest tribal casino to San Francisco and will feature 3,000 slot machines and 144 gambling tables.An assessment carried out last year by Standard and Poor estimated that annual gambling revenue of more than $530 million will be generated by the resort by 2016.
The tribe behind the casino is comprised of descendants of Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo Indians. The tribe is lead by screenwriter, novelist and Sonoma State University professor Greg Sarris. While the casino takes up 340,000 square feet, Sarris talks of planting “sustainable organic farms” just beyond the parking lot.
The tribe fought for a decade to build the casino and came across strong opposition from area residents and politicians.
However, the tribe eventually reached agreements with Rohnert Park and Sonoma County to pay $400 million over twenty years to offset impacts of the casino. In 2012 Governor Jerry Brown signed a gambling compact in which the tribe agreed to pay the state 15% of net casino winnings during the first seven years of operation and 12% thereafter.