California tribe inks gaming compact for Butte County casino

In northern California, last week reportedly saw the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of the Chico Rancheria ink a gaming compact with state officials that could finally clear the way for it to begin construction of a new Class III aboriginal casino.

Rural site selected:

According to a Monday report from the Chico Enterprise-Record newspaper, the federally-recognized tribe wants to build its casino on 627 acres of rural land in Butte County approximately ten miles south of the city of Chico. The compact signed by California Governor, Jerry Brown, on August 9 would allow this planned tribal venue to feature gaming tables and up to 2,000 slots but prohibit play by anyone under the age of 21.

Tribe hoping to accelerate passage:

The newspaper reported that the compact still needs to be ratified by both houses of the California State Legislature and the tribe is seeking to quicken this process by asking Butte County’s Board of Supervisors to sign a letter in support of the envisioned project.

The Chico Enterprise-Record reported that this communication moreover asks local officials ‘to enter into a memorandum of understanding’ with the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of the Chico Rancheria in order to ‘fairly and adequately’ mitigate ‘off-reservation impacts’ connected to the construction and operation of the aboriginal casino.

Signing follows legal battle:

However, it remains unclear whether the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of the Chico Rancheria will receive such backing given the fact that the previous 16 years saw local officials spend some $850,000 fighting efforts to bring a casino to Butte County. This battle only ended in April after the eleven-member United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously upheld the tribe’s land-into-trust application.

Indianz.com reported that the ruling saw Butte County decline further review of the matter, which left the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of the Chico Rancheria free to negotiate its compact with officials in Sacramento.

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Compact con 7BALL tains ‘similar’ terms to predecessors:

A Thursday statement from 80-year-old Brown cited by Indianz.com detailed that the ‘core provisions’ contained within the deal his office agreed with the tribe ‘are similar to those in recent compacts’ and encompass revenue sharing, labor, health and safety, environmental protection and regulatory issues.

Brown’s statement reportedly read…

“The terms are intended to provide the [Mechoopda Indian Tribe of the Chico Rancheria] with the flexibility to develop a new gaming facility that generates revenue for tribal government programs while ensuring that impacts on the local community are appropriately mitigated.”