After Expansion, Graton Would Become 2nd-Largest Casino In California

Written By Dan Holmes on April 11, 2023
Graton Casino expansion makes it second-largest in California, from

Graton Casino & Resort could soon become the second-largest casino in California.

In March, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria entered into a compact with Gov. Gavin Newsom that increases its ability to offer gaming in their casino, located near Santa Rosa, and north of San Francisco.

Under the new compact, Graton Casino could double its number of slot machines from 3,000 to 6,000. The tribe also plans to build an additional hotel on the property as part of a sweeping expansion.

Where does Graton Casino rank currently?

Currently, Yaamava’ Resort & Casino in Highland is the largest casino in California with 7,400 slot machines. Pechanga Resort Casino, in Temecula, is second-largest with 5,400 slots. Graton’s expansion would sandwich it between those two behemoths, comfortably in second place.

With 3,000 slot machines, Graton Casino & Resort is the fifth-largest of the California casinos right now.

Graton Casino has been a popular destination for Californians and tourists since its opening in 2013. It lies on Sears Point, which juts into San Pablo Bay in Sonoma County. It is a boon to the local economy, paying an estimated $13 million taxes to the city of Rohnert Park and Sonoma County annually, according to The Press Democrat.

Number of slots increases payments to non-gaming tribes

Under the terms of the new compact, payments the tribe makes to the Indian Gaming Revenue Sharing Trust Fund could increase by as much as 37%. Currently, that fund serves to benefit tribes in the state that do not have gaming operations. It supplies them with money to assist in services for their communities.

Graton Rancheria had been paying $8 million to that fund. But under the new compact, depending on how many additional slot machines are added to their casino, that figure could climb to as high as $11 million.

The compact would also assure that Sonoma County would receive 2% of net wins from slot machine play at Graton Casino.

The expansion project at Graton Casino & Resort is adding more than 140,000 square feet of gaming space, as well as a second hotel with 221 rooms, a rooftop restaurant, a 3,500-seat theater and a new parking facility. After the expansion, Graton Casino will have more than 450,000 square feet of gaming space — the most in California.

There are only two casinos in Sonoma County, which is famous for its vineyards and acclaimed wines. In addition to Graton Casino, there’s also River Rock Casino, operated by Dry Creek Rancheria.

Photo by AP Photo/Eric Risberg
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a contributor for PlayCA with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He also has extensive experience covering the launch of sports betting in other states, including Ohio, Massachusetts and Maryland. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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