Gov. Brown Greenlights $400 Million Sacramento Casino

Written By Jessica Welman on October 6, 2017
CA Gov. Jerry Brown

[toc]Big news for Sacramento-area casino fans. This week California Gov. Jerry Brown okayed a new California tribal casino project in the Elk Grove area.

The  casino project is through a gaming compact with the Wilton Rancheria Miwok tribe. The plans include a more than 600,000-square foot facility with over 110,000 square feet of gaming space.

More on the Elk Horn casino plans

The California State Assembly unanimously passed the bill approving the tribal compact with the state and Wilton Rancheria in August. The land for the casino is 36 acres adjacent to the Outlet Collection shopping center.

This is not a small casino option. Here are just some of the features it entails:

  • 12-story hotel
  • 302 hotel rooms
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • Convention space
  • Six restaurants
  • 110,260 square feet of gaming space

As part of the compact, the tribe pledges to spend $180 million on community improvement. Current projections expect the casino to generate 1,750 full-time jobs in addition to 1,600 more construction jobs.

While the gaming space is slightly smaller than nearby competitor Thunder Valley Casino, the state also authorized up to 2,500 slot machines on site. That is the same number Thunder Valley currently boasts.

Elk Grove-area Assemblyman Jim Cooper authored the bill. He elaborated on the positive impact the casino should have on both the area and the tribe to the San Francisco Gate:

“For the tribe, the compact marks a big step toward providing the level of independence and support its more than 750 members deserve. The project will mean scholarships, health care, housing and other benefits for a tribe with an unemployment rate above 60 percent, a median income well below the poverty line and college graduation rate near 14 percent.”

Background on the Wilton Rancheria Miwok

The Wilton Rancheria tribe has a long and complicated history in the central California area. Back in the 1800s, settlers wiped out the vast majority of the Miwoks.

Those that did survive lived in the area relatively peacefully until 1958. Then, Congress passed the California Rancheria Termination Act. The law divied up the property of the tribal nation back to individual tribe members. Additionally, it stripped the tribe of its federally recognized status.

Finally, in 2009, the US re-recognized Wilton Rancheria. By that time though, many other tribal groups had a substantial head start in the California gaming marketplace.

Really though, gaming is far from the tribe’s biggest problem. As Cooper noted, the group struggles economically, so the opportunity to generate funds for the community is considered a big win for the nation. Moreover, the Elk Grove community is looking forward to the jobs and community funds the casino will bring.

Photo by Frederic Legrand – COMEO /

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Jessica Welman

A graduate of USC and Indiana University, Jessica Welman has long been involved in the poker industry. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and as the managing editor for

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