Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria own Graton Resort and Casino. They recently signed a new compact with Governor Gavin Newsom allowing them to double their slot machines. The greenlight will kick off planned expansion, which was rumored to start in 2022.
The New Gaming Compact's Details
The tribe and California's new 200-page gaming compact comprises another compact that they made in 2012. Its terms state that Graton Resort and Casino will increase its slot machines from 3,000 to 6,000. The gaming agreement came at the right time as the Indian tribe plans to expand gaming and increase its hotel accommodations outside Rohnert Park.
It will make it a key stakeholder in California's $8 billion per year tribal iGaming sector and the hospitality market. Graton Rancheria's expansion of its gaming floor will make it the second biggest slot floor in the state after Yaamava' Resort and Casino, which the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians own and operate. It has 7,000 slot machines.
The tribe stated that it will increase the amount of money that Rancheria sends to the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund to support non-gaming tribes. Also, the gaming compact indicates that the quarterly payment will increase from $2 million to $2.75 million once the tribe reaches its new slot machines cap.
What About Community Funding?
Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria send millions of dollars to Sonoma County and Rohnert Park to make up for how it impacts public services. But the negotiations exclude the local government.
Jenifer Clein, Sonoma County's Chief Deputy Counsel, stated that the new compact shows that the park and county will receive 2 percent of Graton Rancheria's net wins. It is the total figure wagered on slot machines after deducting all payouts. She added that the county isn't certain how much revenue the tribe will generate, and it doesn't know the amount of money it will receive.
Even so, Clein added that the U.S. Secretary of the Interior has to approve the compact first before it is implemented. Greg Sarris, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria's Chairman, stated that they are happy to make another agreement with California, and offer financial support to it, Sonoma County, and the City of Rohnert Park. It allows them to develop into an independent sovereign nation that will promote environmental stewardship and social justice.
How Does the Tribe Relate with Rohnert Park?
Don Schwartz, Rohnert Park's assistant city manager, stated that he hasn't reviewed the new gaming agreement. But the tribe and Rohnert Park work together.
Graton Rancheria has consistently funded Rohnert Park's services and schools. It will continue offering financial aid since they are good neighbors.
Schwartz believes that the park isn't fully involved in the agreement negotiation. He said that the city formed a Rohnert Park City Council ad hoc committee that will partner with the Indian tribe, Council member Jackie Elward and Mayor Samantha Rodriguez leading them.
Graton Rancheria announced last year it would add another hotel tower and expand its gaming space by 50 percent. The new hotel tower would have 221 rooms.