North Fork Rancheria won't give up casino plans despite vote

Artist's rendering of the proposed North Fork Rancheria casino. Image from North Fork Casino Environmental Impact Statement

The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians saw its Class III gaming compact go down at the polls on Tuesday but Chairwoman Elaine Bethel-Fink said the tribe won't drop plans for a casino.

Voters rejected Proposition 48 by a 61-39 margin, according to the California Secretary of State. Bethel-Fink, however, said the outcome won't affect what the tribe does with its gaming site, which has already been placed in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

"The 305 acres of land near Madera is Indian land, and we will proceed with our plans to build our casino there," Bethel-Fink said in a statement, The Sierra Star reported. "We have just as much right as any other tribe in the country to pursue our sovereign right as a federally recognized tribe to build a casino on our land."

The tribe could offer Class II games, Bethel-Fink said. Or the tribe could ask the BIA to approve Class III gaming procedures in lieu of a state-approved compact, she added.

Tribes with existing casinos poured $22 million into the campaign against Proposition 48. The North Fork Rancheria spent less than $500,000.

"There should be unity amongst all the tribes," Bethel-Fink said. "Tribes should not attempt to stop another tribe to their right to economic development."

Get the Story:
Voters statewide say No to Prop 48 (The Sierra Star 11/6)
Indian tribe backed by Station Casinos loses referendum (Casino City Times 11/6)

Federal Register Notices:
Indian Gaming (October 22, 2013)
Land Acquisitions; North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California (December 3, 2012)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
Press Release | Fact Sheet: North Fork Rancheria Decision | Section 20 Determination: North Fork Rancheria

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Voters reject North Fork Rancheria off-reservation gaming deal (11/5)

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