Column: Graton Rancheria ready for showtime with new casino

The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria is less than a week away from opening the $825 million Graton Resort and Casino:
Just days from opening, workers were putting the finishing touches on the mammoth casino: polishing the columns of Zebrano marble, checking to make sure the 3,000 slot machines are working, cleaning the glass of the skylight above the airy Sky Bar at the center of the gaming floor. The Rohnert Park casino opens Tuesday.

In some ways the Graton Casino is a departure from what you find in Vegas: It's not disorienting, and natural light filters in from the ceiling and doorways.

"We want people to be able to comfortably navigate the casino," said general manager Joe Hasson. "We don't want them lost inside the venue." The Graton Rancheria tribe's goal is to make the casino "contemporary, sophisticated and casual," he said, and to bring in "the natural beauty of Sonoma County."

In one way the casino will be too much like Vegas for many visitors: Smoking will be allowed on most of the gaming floor. Some areas, such as the poker room and all restaurants, will be nonsmoking. And some gaming tables will be nonsmoking as well. Lori Nelson, a spokeswoman for Station Casinos, which has contracted with the Graton tribe to build and manage the casino, said ventilation systems will refresh the casino with outdoor air and keep smoke from migrating into restaurant areas.

Get the Story:
Michael Shapiro: Graton Resort & Casino: Rohnert Park facility opening (The San Francisco Chronicle 10/31)

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