Feds approve the North Fork casino project on Highway 99
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A controversial casino planned for Madera County clears a major hurdle.
The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved the gaming contract of the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians. This action will allow a resort and casino north of Madera on Highway 99.
The 20-year compact is effective immediately and does not expire until December 31, 2033.
The compact allows the North Fork casino to have 20,000 gaming devices. The casino also will have 50 gaming tables.
The tribe plans a $250 million project on more than 300 acres.
Opponents of the project say the casino may still be put on hold, if they can gather enough signatures to force a referendum. They argue the plan is unfair, and sets a bad precedent for off-reservation gaming.
But the tribe argues that the land is historically important to them, and would be an economic boost for the area.
PRESS RELEASE from the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians
On October 22, 2013, the Bureau of Indian Affairs published notice in the Federal Register that the class III gaming compact between the State of California and the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California is now in effect.
Publication of the notice in the Federal Register completes the final step in the rigorous federal process that the Tribe has followed since 2004, a process that has included an exhaustive environmental review under NEPA, affirmative decisions by the Secretary of the Interior on the Tribe's trust application, two-part determination, and most recently, the compact. The process has further required Governor Brown's concurrence in the Secretarial two-part determination, his negotiation of the compact, and the State Legislature's ratification of the compact.
"This is an important day for North Fork, Madera County, and poorer tribes across the state who will directly benefit from the jobs, economic activity, and public funding this compact delivers," said Ms. Elaine Bethel-Fink, Tribal Chair of the North Fork Rancheria. "Now at last we can all focus on coming together, moving forward, and clearing any remaining obstacles to delivering on the true promise of Indian gaming: jobs, tribal self-sufficiency, and community funding," added Ms. Bethel-Fink.
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