Artist’s rendering of the Wilton Rancheria’s resort project in Elk Grove, California. Image: Wilton Rancheria

Wilton Rancheria secures approval of gaming management agreement

Monday, November 5, 2018   

The Wilton Rancheria is celebrating federal approval of an agreement for its long-awaited casino in California.The National Indian Gaming Commission approved the tribe’s management agreement with BGM Co, Inc, a subsidiary of Boyd Gaming, on October 31. The deal represents one of the final steps in the tribe’s long journey toward self-sufficiency.“We are humbled and grateful to receive this approval, as we reflect on the positive impacts the National Indian Gaming Act has had for tribes across the country,” Chairman Raymond C. Hitchcock said in a press release.

The tribe will be building the casino in the city of Elk Grove. The 36-acre gaming site was placed in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on January 19, 2017, the last full day of the Obama administration.A year later, the tribe’s Class III gaming compact with the state of California went into effect. The management agreement itself was subjected to a environmental review process that took a little over three years to complete.“Approving this management contract does so much more than create a business partnership between Wilton Rancheria and Boyd Gaming,” NIGC Chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri said in a press release. “This management contract supports the tribe’s efforts to better their community in many ways ranging from investing in schools to providing medical support for their people.”

Plans call for a $400 million resort along a major highway in Elk Grove. The development will be the closest Indian gaming facility to Sacramento, the state capital, which is about 20 miles away.A groundbreaking has not been announced. The tribe anticipates 1,600 jobs will be created during construction, while the casino itself will offer about 1,750 full-time positions.“We are gratified by the Commission’s approval, and we look forward to working closely with the Wilton Tribe in designing, developing and opening a first-in-class resort experience,” said Keith Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boyd Gaming. “This development will benefit the Tribe and the City of Elk Grove by generating jobs, tourism and revenue for the entire community.”The agreement with Boyd runs for seven years, The Sacramento Business Journal reported. Hitchcock also said financing for the casino still needs to be secured.The tribe was restored to federal recognition in 2009.