Redding Rancheria restarts process to replace existing casino

The Redding Rancheria owns and operates the Win-River Resort and Casino in Redding, California. Photo by Redding Rancheria The Redding Rancheria of California is getting a second shot at replacing its casino with a newer and bigger one.

The tribe has submitted a land-into-trust application for a 232-acre site in Shasta County. Plans call for a 140,000 square-foot casino, a hotel with about 250 rooms, retail and an event/convention center, according to a forthcoming Federal Register notice.

"The new facility would replace the tribe’s existing casino, and the exisiting [sic] casino buildings would be converted to a different use," the notice, which will be published on Tuesday, reads.

The tribe previously sought approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to move the Win-River Resort and Casino to the new site. But the agency in 2010 said the land did not qualify under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Indianz.Com SoundCloud: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Oral Arguments in Redding Rancheria v. Jewell The tribe, however, took the matter to court and won a favorable decision that opened the door for resubmitting the application. At issue was a controversial gaming regulation that appeared to limit the tribe's options until the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals determined otherwise in January 2015.

"Allowing a restored tribe to move a casino does not appear to conflict with the statutory purpose of ensuring parity among restored and established tribes," Judge Mary M. Schroeder wrote for the court.

Generally, IGRA bars casinos on land acquired after 1988 but Section 20 of the law offers an exception for tribes like the Redding Rancheria that were restored to federal recognition. The court concluded that the BIA failed to consider the tribe's plan to close the existing casino.

Win-River currently sits on a 2.3-acre parcel so the new site would offer much more space if it is acquired in trust. The property sits about 1.6 miles away, according to the BIA.

The BIA will be preparing an environmental impact statement for the project, a process that will stretch into the new administration of Republican president-elect Donald Trump.

Forthcoming Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Redding Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, Shasta County, California (To Be Published November 29, 2016)

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Redding Rancheria v. Jewell (January 20, 2015)

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