Rendering of a proposed casino in Cathedral City, California, to be owned and operated by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Source: draft Environmental Assessment/Tribal Environmental Impact Report

Agua Caliente Band moves forward with plans for third gaming facility

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is making progress on plans for a third gaming facility in southern California.

Plans call for a 125,000 square-foot facility on a 13.6-acre site in Cathedral City. The casino would take up 65,000 square-feet, with another 60,000 square-feet used for restaurants, retail, office and governmental space, according to a draft Environmental Assessment/Tribal Environmental Impact Report released last October.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs took comments on the environmental assessment for the tribe's land-into-trust application through December 3, 2018, according to a public notice from the time. The next step would be a final environmental assessment, though there is no timeline for a decision from the federal agency.

Indianz.Com on Google Maps: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

The tribe, meanwhile, is seeking to enter into two agreements with Cathedral City to address the impacts of the casino, The Palm Springs Desert Sun reported. One requires the tribe to pay $150,000 per year for emergency services and $500,000 per year for road repairs over 10 years, for a total of $6.5 million, KESQ reported.

The intergovernmental agreement and the memorandum of understanding are being considered at a city council meeting on Wednesday evening. The items are among the last on the agenda.

Generally, land acquired after the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 can't be used for a casino. But that doesn't apply when the land is contiguous an existing reservation.

In the case of the Agua Caliente Band, the site in Cathedral City is contiguous to the reservation, according to the BIA.

The tribe operates the Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs and the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage. Cathedral City is located between those two facilities.

The tribe's Class III gaming compact was amended in 2016 to authorize up to four additional casinos. The agreement specifically envisioned facilities on sites contiguous to the reservation

Read More on the Story
Cathedral City considers pacts with Agua Caliente tribe for casino at Hwy 111, Date Palm (The Palm Springs Desert Sun August 28, 2019)
Cathedral City Council to consider new agreement with Agua Caliente (KESQ August 28, 2019)

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