The Tule River Tribe owns and operates the Eagle Mountain Casino in Porterville, California. Photo: Tamara Evans

Tule River Tribe updates gaming compact amid push for off-reservation casino

The Tule River Tribe signed a new Class III gaming compact that recognizes plans for an off-reservation casino in California.

The tribe is seeking to relocate the Eagle Mountain Casino to a new 40-acre site in Porterville. If the effort is successful, the compact calls for negotiations to address the facility.

"If additional land is placed in trust for the tribe pursuant to 25 U.S.C. § 2719(b)(1)(A), the tribe may request and the state shall agree to enter into negotiations to allow the tribe to operate a gaming facility on that trust land," the new agreement reads.

The tribe is pursuing the relocation under the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act -- also known as 25 U.S.C. § 2719(b)(1)(A). The law requires approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs as well as the state governor.

The process typically takes years to complete but the tribe is slowly making progress. The BIA completed a scoping report in April in advance of issuing an environmental impact statement for the project.

The BIA hasn't committed to a timeline for the next steps in the process, however. The anticipated schedule reads "To Be Determined" for the draft and final environmental impact statement.

The new site is by the Porterville Airport Industrial Park. It's about 20 miles from the Eagle Mountain Casino.

As for the compact, it needs to be ratified by the California Legislature. Then it can be sent to the BIA for review.

Read More on the Story:
Governor signs Tule River gaming compact (The Porterville Recorder September 2, 2017)

An Opinion:
Editorial: Gaming compact change is good (The Porterville Recorder September 6, 2017)

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