The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain opened with a customary guitar smash on October 30, 2019. Photo: Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento

Enterprise Rancheria debuts long-awaited 'Hard Rock' casino

The Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of the Enterprise Rancheria opened the doors to its long-awaited casino in California last month.

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain was more than a decade in the making. It is the first facility in the state that opened pursuant to the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The $440 million Fire Mountain is also the first "Hard Rock" property in California. The internationally-known brand is owned by the Seminole Tribe.

"This project is the first of its kind, with two tribes joining together to bring this integrated resort to life," Enterprise Chairwoman Glenda Nelson said in a news release after the grand guitar smash ceremony on October 30.. "We are proud of our partnership with Hard Rock and the Seminole Tribe, and we are enthusiastic to continue collaborating to provide guests with an unparalleled entertainment destination experience."

The casino is located on a 40-acre site about 35 miles from Sacramento, the state capital. The land was placed in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2012.

The BIA's decision came after the tribe secured federal, as well as state, approval to open the casino, a process that took about a decade. Litigation from tribes with existing facilities delayed the official opening.

The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians also has completed both steps of the two-part determination process. But that project, located on a 305-acre site, remains in limbo due to opposition from rival tribes.

In a related development, the BIA has approved a two-part determination for the Tule River Tribe, whose leaders plan to move the existing Eagle Mountain Casino to a more prominent site. The state governor's concurrence is needed before the project can move forward;

Separate from Fire Mountain, Hard Rock has partnered with the Tejon Tribe on another casino in California. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon is to be located near Bakersfield, more than 270 miles south of Sacramento.

The project is still under review at the BIA. It's possible the tribe might follow the two-part determination process, according to the scoping report for the forthcoming environmental impact statement. The tribe might also qualify for an exception in Section 20 of IGRA since it was recently restored to federal recognition.

Read More on the Story
Hard Rock settling in after busy opening (The Marysville Appeal-Democrat November 14, 2019)
The grand opening of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain (KGO November 17, 2019)

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision
Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Community v. Zinke (May 2, 2018)

Federal Register Notice
Land Acquisitions; Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California (December 3, 2012)

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