Chukchansi Tribe finally reopens casino after 14-month closure

Patrons enter the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino on December 31, 2015. Photo by Marc Benjamin / Twitter

The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians reopened its casino on New Year's Eve, 14 months after the tribe was forced to close the facility amid an internal leadership dispute.

The Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino saw capacity crowds as thousands flooded the venue for the first time since October 9, 2014. A formal grand reopening is set for January 15.

"Since our election, the tribal council has worked every day with our government partners, casino management team and local business partners to get Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino ready to open for our customers," Chairwoman Claudia Gonzales said in a press release. "We are thankful for the support of our members and believe this is an important first step in bringing prosperity back to our people."

"Our team at Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino have been busy preparing for our reopening. We are looking forward to providing the very best casino and resort experience for our returning and new customers," added Christian Goode, the casino's chief operating officer.

The reopening came after the tribe entered into an agreement with the National Indian Gaming Commission to resolve numerous violations of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The tribe agreed to a fine of $19.845 million but only $500,000 will be paid as long as the settlement conditions are met.

The settlement clears a notice of violation and a temporary closure order that was imposed on the casino.

Separately, a federal judge affirmed that the tribe violated the Class III gaming compact by threatening the health and safety of the public. But Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill said the tribe could reopen the casino once the NIGC lifted the closure order.

Get the Story:
At long last, Chukchansi casino reopens on Thursday (The Fresno Bee 12/30)
Protesters oppose the reopening of Chukchansi casino and hotel (The Fresno Bee 12/30)
Protests begin near Chukchansi casino (The Sierra Star 12/30)
Protests amid Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino reopening (Your Central Valley 12/30)
Chukchansi casino reopens, excited customers stream through doors (The Fresno Bee 12/31)
Busy reopening day at Chukchansi (Your Central Valley 12/31)
Chukchansi casino reopens to more than 1,000 customers (The Sierra Star 12/31)
Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino reopens to large crowds on New Year's Eve (KFSN 1/1)

Relevant Documents:
Settlement Agreement SA-15-01 | NOV-14-03 / TCO-14-02 | TCO-14-01 | TCO-14-01

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Chukchansi Tribe signs agreement with NIGC to reopen casino (12/22)
Former leader of Chukchansi Tribe resolves casino closure case (12/07)
Chukchansi Tribe reaches new agreement for shuttered casino (11/25)
Chukchansi Tribe still working to reopen casino after a year (11/05)
Chukchansi Tribe seats new leadership as casino remains closed (10/27)
Chukchansi Tribe accused of illegal vote and casino preparations (10/07)
Chukchansi Tribe picks leaders and hires gaming commissioners (10/5)
Chukchansi Tribe heads to vote as casino closure hits one year (10/2)

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