Opinion: Light at the end of tunnel for Graton Rancheria's casino

"The Graton Rancheria was federally recognized as an Indian tribe on December 27, 2000, by an Act of Congress. The Tribe has been continuously pursuing development of a casino for the ensuing 11½ years, but casino opponents have opposed and attacked the project with the ferocity and tenacity of a dog with a bone. This opposition has culminated in new litigation challenging the State of California's ratification of a Class III Gaming Compact with Graton.

The tribal path has been littered with all sorts of problems, some of which may have been of its own making, but it appeared that the final obstacles had been overcome as of May 7, 2012, when the California state legislature ratified the Compact which was negotiated by Governor Jerry Brown. This ostensibly was the final step prior to commencement of casino construction since the proposed casino site was accepted into trust for the Tribe in October 2010.

Having sidestepped and beaten down the many avenues of attack on its project over the years – including having to abandon two previous sites before settling on the current location – the Graton Tribe had every reason to believe that its long fight was virtually over. Its 254-acre site adjacent to U.S. 101 at Rohnert Park, California, was in trust, its Gaming Compact was ratified and pending before the Secretary of the Interior for approval, and its business partner Station Casinos was firmly committed to completing the project and opening for gaming operations within a reasonable period of time."

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Dennis J. Whittlesey: Graton’s Never-Ending Battle To Develop Gaming (Mondaq 5/28)
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