Gaming machines at the Spa Resort Casino, owned and operated by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in Palm Springs, California. Photo: Tracie Hall

Agua Caliente Band starts land-into-trust process for another casino

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is moving forward with plans for a third gaming facility in southern California.

Plans call for a 125,000 square-foot facility in Cathedral City, according to news reports. The casino will take up 65,000 square-feet of space, with retail accounting for another 60,000 square-feet.

"There is so much going on in downtown right now, the casino is going to be, in my opinion, in our opinion another invaluable catalyst," Stone James, the city's director of economic development, told KMIR.

The tribe has filed a land-into-trust application as part of the process. The Bureau of Indian Affairs held a scoping meeting on January 18 and is taking public comments until January 29.

The next step would be the issuance of an environmental assessment, which is considered less stringent than an environmental impact statement. An EA typically goes through the BIA's review process quicker than an EIS.

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

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 13-acre 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:
Initial Plans for the New Downtown Casino in Cathedral City Revealed (KMIR January 22, 2018)
Plans for downtown Cathedral City casino revealed (KESQ January 22, 2018)

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Agua Caliente Band announces plans for another gaming facility (April 18, 2017)