Dry Creek Rancheria struggling to see gaming revenues recover

Gamblers at the River Rock Casino. Photo from Instagram

The Dry Creek Rancheria of California has reduced its workforce, slashed per capita payments, halted local revenue sharing payments and has gone into default on its debt as a result of dwindling gaming revenues.

Chairman Harvey Hopkins said revenues at the River Rock Casino have fallen about 50 percent since another tribe opened a casino closer to the Bay Area last November. He was optimistic of some form of recovery but acknowledged the road ahead will be rough.

“We still haven’t recovered. It’s probably going to take a little longer for us to really find the balance," Hopkins told The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.

The casino is down to 500 employees, from 600 prior, Hopkins said. Tribal government staff has been cut in half to just 10 employees.

Per capita payments to 650 tribal members have been reduced by 50 percent, the paper reported. The tribe hasn't been able to make a $3.5 million annual payment to Sonoma County to address the impacts of the casino.

Then there's the $140 million in debt. The tribe hopes to restructure its payments after going into default this summer.

“Graton put a dent in us,” Gus Pina, a former member of Dry Creek Band's board of directors, told the paper, referring to the Graton Resort and Casino. “It’s closer to the Bay Area, in a big, shining building with a ton of machines and tables and restaurants.”

The Graton Resort and Casino in California. Photo from Instagram

The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria own the new casino, which has seen strong revenues since its debut in November 2013.

Get the Story:
River Rock woes mount as casino revenue is cut in half (The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat 9/14)

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