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Government OKs Indian Casino In Yuba County

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WASHINGTON D.C. (CBS13) — A controversial proposal nine years in the making for an Indian casino in Yuba County has earned the approval of the federal government.

Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk on Friday issued a ruling that the Enterprise Rancheria, which was first proposed by the Estom Yumeka Maidu tribe in 2002, “would be in the best interest of the Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians, and would not be detrimental to the surrounding community.”

The proposed casino/resort near the town of Wheatland on Forty Mile Road off Highway 65 would feature 1,700 machines and an eight-story hotel with 170 rooms. The facility would sit on 40 acres in an area zoned for sports and entertainment that already includes the Sleep Train Amphitheatre.

The tribe, which has 800 members, is headquartered 36 miles away in Oroville and has 40 acres in trust in the Sierra foothills, but the government in its ruling said the tribe’s existing lands aren’t suited for a casino/resort.

The United Auburn Indian Community, which operates Thunder Valley Casino 21 miles away in Lincoln, objected to the Yuba County casino, but that tribe “did not submit sufficient evidence showing that gaming on the site would be detrimental to its own community,” according to the government ruling.

“Our responsibility under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is clear: we must review each application on a case by case basis and determine whether it meets the standards outlined in law and regulation,” said Echo Hawk.

The application now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown for approval. Brown has one year to concur.

The tribe has entered into Memorandum of Understandings with Yuba County and the city of Marysville, which is the closest municipal government to the proposed gaming facility. Under the MOUs, Yuba County would receive $83 million over 20 years for various services, and Marysville would receive $4.8 million over 15 years.

According to the government’s analysis, the gaming facility would result in annual net revenues of $46.2 million by year seven, with $19.3 million in cash available to the tribe.

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