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Rival tribes raise $4M to block North Fork Rancheria casino bid

Filed Under: California | Casino Stalker | Litigation
More on: auburn, california, chukchansi, elections, north fork, off-reservation, table mountain, wiyot

Artist's rendering of the proposed North Fork Rancheria casino. Image from North Fork Casino Environmental Impact Statement

Rival tribes have raised more than $4 million to prevent the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians from opening an off-reservation casino in California.

The Table Mountain Rancheria has contributed $2 million to the Proposition 48 campaign, according to BallotPedia. The Table Mountain Casino is about 31 miles from the North Fork site.

Investors and bondholders in the casino owned by the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians have contributed another $1.9 million and the Chukchansi Economic Development Authority has contributed $25,000, according to BallotPedia. The Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino is about 38 miles from the North Fork site.

The United Auburn Indian Community donated $100,000. The Thunder Valley Casino Resort is more than 170 miles away from the North Fork site.

A non-Indian card club, meanwhile, has contributed $15,000 to campaign against the casino.

The money far outweighs the support for the compact. The North Fork Rancheria and its partner, Station Casinos, have only raised $325,000 to defend their project, according to BallotPedia.

The Democratic State Central Committee of California chipped in another $3,658.

A "yes" vote on Proposition 48 ratifies the North Fork Rancheria's Class III gaming compact. It also ratifies a compact for the Wiyot Tribe, whose leaders agreed to forgo a casino in exchange for a cut of revenues from the North Fork casino.

A "no" vote, on the other hand, blocks the compact. A description of Proposition 48, from the California Secretary of State, follows:
Proposition 48 - Referendum to Overturn Indian Gaming Compacts
If signed by the required number of registered voters and timely filed with the Secretary of State, this petition will place on the statewide ballot a challenge to a state law previously approved by the Legislature and the Governor. The law must then be approved by a majority of voters at the next statewide election to go into effect. The law ratifies two gaming compacts (with the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, and the Wiyot Tribe); and it exempts execution of the compacts, certain projects, and intergovernmental agreements from the California Environmental Quality Act. (13-0007)

Get the Story:
Money flows in campaign to support, oppose North Fork casino project (The Fresno Bee 9/26)
Statewide Ballot Measure Would Give Wiyot Tribe a Stake in Madera County Casino (The Lost Coast Outpost 9/25)
California Wins Appeal on Tribe's Casino Plans (Courthouse News Service 9/25)
Tribe seeking Madera casino wins a court fight (The Central Valley Business Times 9/25)

Court of Appeal Decision:
Picayune Rancheria v. Brown (September 24, 2014)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
Press Release | Fact Sheet: North Fork Rancheria Decision | Section 20 Determination: North Fork Rancheria

Federal Register Notices:
Indian Gaming (October 22, 2013)
Land Acquisitions; North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California (December 3, 2012)

Related Stories:
Court rejects rival's challenge to North Fork Rancheria casino (9/25)

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