Timbisha Shoshone Tribe secures approval of casino agreement

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe hopes to build a casino at this site along North China Lake Boulevard in Ridgecrest, California. Image from Google Maps

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe and the city of Ridgecrest, California, are now partners in a casino project.

The city council voted 3-2 on Wednesday to approve a municipal services agreement for the proposed casino, The Ridgecrest Daily Independent reported. The council had earlier voted 4-1 to enter into talks with the tribe.

Under the agreement, the tribe would pay about $400,000 a year for city services plus a one-time payment of $80,000. It would run for 20 years.

As part of the deal, the city will support a land-into-trust application that's being submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The proposed gaming site is near the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.

The Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act requires the BIA to place certain lands in trust but in the event a particular parcel can't be acquired, the law says a "another parcel mutually agreed upon" by the tribe and the federal government can be placed in trust. There do not appear to be any restrictions on where that parcel must be located so the site in Ridgecrest would presumably qualify.

The tribe has a reservation in Death Valley National Park, about 122 miles from Ridgecrest, but it has to look elsewhere for economic development due to restrictions there.

A copy of the revised municipal services agreement can be found on the city council website.

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Council approves revised Timbisha Shoshone MSA 3 to 2 (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent 6/2)

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