Mechoopda Tribe Breaks Ground On New Casino Near Chico

Written By Rashid Mohamed on June 5, 2022 - Last Updated on June 8, 2022
New casino near Chico is on schedule to open in a year

Gambling enthusiasts in Northern California, rejoice! A new casino near Chico is on schedule to open in a year.

Considering that online casino gambling is illegal in California and not expected to be legalized anytime soon, a new casino should be welcomed in the community.

Construction on the 42,000-square-foot casino is well on its way. The casino’s location is a 91-acre site just off Openshaw Road near Highways 99 and 149.

The Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria will run the casino. The venue will be temporary, the tribe said. Plans for a larger and more permanent structure are in the works.

Casino development in full swing

Approved for a Class III gaming license, the casino will have about 500 slot machines on hand, 10 gaming tables and three restaurants. It’ll also feature a food court, bar and a player’s club.

There will be much fewer games at the temporary casino as opposed to the permanent one. The casino could add up to 300 jobs to the area.

The tribe has teamed up with Palace Hospitality. Palace is a a development, management and consulting enterprise created by Tachi Palace Resort Casino. The company works with tribal-owned casino businesses to expand into new opportunities.

Fresno-based Palace Hospitality is looking forward to a strong and fruitful partnership with the tribe, said Michael Olujic, Palace Hospitality Principal. Mechoopda Tribal Chairman Dennis Ramirez thinks it’s a good match.

“Palace Hospitality’s knowledge and experience in developing successful casino operation methods and programs make them a perfect fit for our new venture.”

A costly but deserved win

Obtaining approval for the construction of this casino had been a long time coming for the Mechoopda Tribe. The tribe was locked into a legal dispute with Butte County for more than a decade. The county fought tooth and nail to halt the casino’s construction.

It appears the Butte County Board of Supervisors opposed the casino because it was in “violation of the general plan.” In August 2018, supervisors finally relented.

Two months later, then-California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a compact agreement with the tribe. Support for the compact came after an appeals court upheld the tribe’s land into trust application. That brought the legal case to an eventual end.

While the victory was an important one, it did come at a high cost. The tribe was forced to shell out $850,000 in legal fees.

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Rashid Mohamed

Rashid Mohamed is an international journalist with a special interest in sports writing. He is a Poli-Sci graduate of Ohio University and holds an A.A.S in Journalism. He has worked in a number of countries and has extensive experience in the United Nations as well as other regional, national, and international organizations. Rashid lives and writes out of Denver, Colorado.

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