Thousands Arrive for Graton Resort & Casino Opening
Last Tuesday the Graton Resort & Casino opened in Rohnert Park an hour ahead of schedule to an excited crowd of thousands. The opening caused massive traffic jams with some motorists reporting journey times of up to four hours to cover a distance of just 48 miles.According to California Highway Patrol Officer Jon Sloat numerous drivers left their cars at hotels and business parks to make their way on foot to the casino. Sloat said, “I wouldn’t say this is worse than we thought it would be, it’s pretty much the worst case scenario we expected, with just the sheer volume of vehicles coming in.”
The tribal chairman behind the casino, Greg Sarris, appeared an hour ahead of schedule at 9am to greet the crowds and grant them early entry. At all three entrances the crowds could enjoy traditional lion and dragon dances and apparently by mid-afternoon there was a 200-person wait for the casinos 13 restaurants.
Despite the chaos caused to local traffic, the opening has to be considered a success. By midday the casino was forced to close its doors as it was completely full. A spokeswoman for the casino said that they expect crowds and traffic to calm down in the next few weeks.