Tribal Organization: Wilton Rancheria
Highway 99 and Grant Line Road
Elk Grove, Sacramento County, CA
Wilton Rancheria will build a $500 million resort casino in Sacramento County off Highway 99 and Grant Line Road. It will feature a 110,260 sq-ft gaming floor with 2,000 slots and 84 table games and a 12-story hotel with 302 guest rooms, spa and fitness center and a luxury pool.
Courtesy of ABC 10 KTTV.
In September 2016 the Elk Grove City Council approved a local agreement with the tribe. Wilton Rancheria will pay the city $132 million over 20 years to cover the financial impact of the casino on its community.
The proposed site is "off-reservation" land. The tribe opted to purchase it for a casino and applied to the U.S. Interior Department for special approval. A favorable decision was issued in January 2017 and the land was taken into federal trust.
This prompted opposition groups to appeal the legality of that decision. In July 2017 the Interior Department denied their appeal.
A week later Gov. Jerry Brown announced he had negotiated and signed a gaming compact with the tribe allowing 2,500 slot machines. The compact was then ratified by the legislature and final signoffs and approvals were announced in October 2017.
Preparation of the casino site began Feb 1, 2019 with the demolition and removal of the abandoned Elk Grove Mall. The casino site is at the north end of the mall near Kammerer Road and Highway 99. The job will finished by March 1.
Once the casino construction is underway it will take 12-18 months to complete the entire project.
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30,000 total square-feet of event space
Conference center - will be one of the largest in the region
12-story hotel tower
302 guest rooms and suites
Spa and fitness center
October 16, 2019
A District of Columbia federal judge has dismisses a lawsuit filed by Stand Up for California to block Wilton Rancheria from building a casino in Elk Grove, Sacramento County, California.
U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden issued his ruling Oct 7 and cited the fact that the Elk Grove casino project location was land occupied by Wilton ancestors and located near historical tribal sites. He found "no evidence of a legal or procedural flaw" in the U.S. Interior's decision to take that land into federal trust for the tribe.
Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond Hitchcock issued this statement following the ruling:
"We are gratified by the judge's ruling to decisively reject dishonest arguments put forth by well-funded special interest groups that have tried at every turn to stop our project. We will continue to move ahead with our plans to build the resort and casino."
Hitchcock also said the groundbreaking for the casino is "imminent
July 4, 2019
In another attempt to block construction of the Elk Grove casino project, the activist group Stand Up for California! filed another lawsuit on June 13, 2019 against the U.S. Department of Interior and the Wilton Rancheria that challenges the legality of transferring Elk Grove land owned by the tribe into federal trust for the purpose of building a casino.
The U.S. Department Interior completed the land transfer in Feb 2017. Stand Up for California! wants the U.S. District Court to vacate that land transfer into federal trust and rescind the records of conveyance.
On July 3 both defendants filed their responses with the court. The Bureau of Indian Affairs filed a 20-page report for the federal government claiming a "bad faith" challenge by the plaintiff. The Wilton Rancheria filed a 25-page response in its defense.
Tribal Chairman Raymond Hitchcock said, "I am most confident that the litigation is going to go in our favor in the next few months. The judge will be reviewing all the documents and this salacious litigation put before the tribe by Stand Up for California! for the past two years will finally come to an end in the tribe's favor."
Hitchcock then mentioned the construction schedule may be somewhat delayed pending the court's decision. He feels the construction will likely be completed by the end of 2020 or early 2021.
March 25, 2019
Courtesy of ABC 10 KTTV.
The casino site for the Wilton Rancheria casino proposed for Elk Grove has been cleared of previous construction projects including the abandoned "Ghost Mall".
Eleven years ago the Howard Hughes Corp began construction on a shopping mall at Highway 99 and Kammerer Road. Construction was stopped and never resumed resulting in the "ghost mall" nickname. Hughes officially abandoned the project earlier this year.
January 25, 2019
A federal judge has denied a lawsuit filed two years ago by the anti-casino group Stand Up for California! against the U.S. Interior Department and the Wilton Rancheria in an attempt for a restraining order to stop construction of the tribe's casino resort planned for Elk Grove, California.
The lawsuit alleged the inappropriate contact early communications between the federal government and tribe, and all correspondence and documents during that time should be made availabe to the plaintiff.
A decision last week in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. ruled against the activist group. Judge Trevor McFadden wrote "federal regulations require conversations between the department and tribes about the land acquisition process before the release of a decision."
This is the second lawsuit filed against the Elk Grove casino by Stand Up for California! Two years ago a federal court rejected their claim that the Interior Department's approval to place the casino site into federal trust was invalid because it was made by an interim official of that department.
January 4, 2019
Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond Hitchcock said last week his tribe expects to finish construction of the Wilton Resort Casino by the end of 2020.
A final determination of the opening date will be announced later based on progress of the project. Hitchcock said "There's no definitive date yet, but we're looking at early 2019 to begin this process, and it's slated for completion by late 2020."
Construction is expected to take 12-18 months to complete.
November 07, 2018
On October 31 the management contract for the proposed Elk Grove casino was approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission.
The proposed casino will be owned by the Wilton Rancheria tribe. Boyd Gaming will be partnering with the tribe for the casino project. One reason why approval must be given from the commission is to be sure that the tribe is not taken advantage of.
The environmental impact statement was also submitted with the management contract. The U.S. Department of the Interior completed the report previously as part of the process for taking land into trust for the tribe. This occurred last year.
The tribe is now a step closer to receiving their final approval to build their casino. If progress continues to be made, the Elk Grove casino could open by late 2020.
January 23, 2018
The gaming compact between the state of California and the Wilton Rancheria tribe has been approved. On January 22 a notice of federal register was published by the U.S. Department of Interior. The Elk Grove casino will be allowed to be operated under the approval of the compact.
The casino resort will be built near Kammerer Road off Highway 99 at a cost of $500 million. Ground breaking could be scheduled as earlier as Summer 2019. It is estimated that the project could be completed in 18 months to 2 years.
In 2009 tribal status was restored to the Wilton Rancheria. In February 2017 land was placed into trust. The property is 36 acres and was purchased for $36 million.
Boyd Gaming has partnered with the tribe for the casino operations.
Construction for the casino resort will create 1,600 jobs. When that is completed, full time positions for employment will be 1,750. It is possible that an additional 3,000 jobs could also be created based on indirect and direct support businesses for the project.
March 1, 2018
On Wednesday a federal judge, yet again, sided with the Wilton Rancheria tribe in another lawsuit that would prevent the tribe from moving land into trust for their future casino.
The land is located in Elk Grove. It consists of 35.9 acres.
It was decided that authority to move the land into trust was lawful when it was approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs principal deputy assistant secretary, Larry Roberts.
The ruling resulted in excitement from the tribe. After a multitude of lawsuits, the ruling moved the proposed casino project another step forward into becoming reality.
They were grateful that the trust was upheld and that there were supported by the federal government. The tribe will be able to keep their right to their sovereign land.
The organization that was attempting to stop the tribe is Stand Up for California. After the ruling, the group was determined to file a different complaint for other federal law violations committed. This includes the National Environmental Policy Act and Indian Reorganization Act. The project has also be opposed by residents of Elk Grove and owners of card rooms that are concerned about how the casino would effect their businesses.
The approval of the casino was also the center of an additional lawsuit. Officials for Elk Grove were accused of working with the tribe to move the project forward in an illegal way. However, in December a request for dismissal was filed by the plaintiffs.
Located close to Highway 99 the casino will be developed next to an outlet mall.
Boyd Gaming has decided to partner with the tribe to develop the $400 million project. Plans include a casino, convention center, and hotel.