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Posted by Win-River Resort & Casino on Thursday, May 3, 2018
HISTORY: The Redding Rancheria opened what is now known as the Win-River Resort & Casino in Redding, California, in 1993. Photo: Win-River Resort Casino

Redding Rancheria seeks approval to move casino to new site

The Redding Rancheria is making progress on long-running plans to relocate its casino to a bigger site in northern California.

The tribe sought approval to move the Win-River Resort and Casino to a new site more than 15 years ago. But it took a court victory for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to take another look at the land-into-trust application for the 232-acre parcel known as Strawberry Fields.

The BIA has since published the draft environmental impact statement for the project, a key step in the process. The public comment period has been extended through June 17, according to a notice published in the Federal Register.

"The tribe is proposing to construct a casino resort that includes a casino, hotel, event/convention center, outdoor amphitheater, retail center, and associated parking/infrastructure," the June 6 notice states. "The new facility would replace the Tribe's existing casino, and the tribe would convert the existing casino buildings to a different tribal use."

Generally, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act bars gaming on land acquired in trust after 1988. But Section 20 of the law contains an exception for tribes that were restored to federal recognition.

After being terminated illegally by the federal government, the Redding Rancheria was restored to recognition in 1983 as part of the Tillie Hardwick litigation. Despite the tribe's status, the National Indian Gaming Commission initially concluded in December 2010 that the Strawberry Fields parcel could not be used for a casino.

Litigation led to a mostly favorable ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in January 2015. The following year, the tribe, the BIA and the NIGC entered into a memorandum of understanding in which they agreed that the application would be processed under the restored lands exception in IGRA.

The draft environmental impact statement, which was released in April, is part of that ongoing process. A public hearing took place in Redding on May 20 and public comments were being accepted through June 3.

Amid debate in the local community, the BIA decided to extend the public comment period for another two weeks. The city of Redding has submitted a letter outlining concerns about the project but did not outright oppose the land-into-trust application, The Redding Record-Searchlight reported.

Once all the public comments are reviewed, the BIA will issue a final environmental impact statement, to be followed by a record of decision on the application. There is no timeline for a decision.

Strawberry Fields is about two miles from Win-River, which is located on a much smaller site.

Read More on the Story
Win-River's plan to build a new casino resort near Redding. What should you know? (The Redding Record-Searchlight May 25, 2019)
Expansion planned for Win-River Casino in Redding (Action News Now May 23, 2019)
Debate continues over proposed new Win-River Casino location (KRCR May 22, 2019)
City decides whether to send letter raising concerns about Redding Rancheria's casino plans (The Redding Record-Searchlight May 21, 2019)
Redding council rundown: Casinos, cannabis, construction and snow-mageddon (The Redding Record-Searchlight May 21, 2019)
The Buzz: Public gets chance to chime in on plans for large casino in Churn Creek Bottom (The Redding Record-Searchlight May 17, 2019)
Win-River Resort and Casino would like to move to a new location (KRCR May 17, 2019)

Federal Register Notices
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Redding Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, Shasta County, California (June 6, 2019)
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Redding Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, Shasta County, California (November 29, 2016)

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

National Indian Gaming Commission Document
Indian Lands Opinion (December 22, 2010)

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Redding Rancheria gets a second shot for casino at a larger site (January 21, 2015)
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