After 20 Year Process, North Fork Rancheria to Build Casino

The North Fork Rancheria can move forward with the development of its long-awaited casino in Madera County, California. 

It’s been 20 years of effort for the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians to build a casino in Madera County, California — north of Fresno and south of Yosemite National Park. 

The California Supreme Court cleared a major hurdle for the Tribe to develop the casino in an August 31st ruling. The court determined that in 2011, former Governor Jerry Brown acted within his authority when he approved two off-reservation Tribal gaming projects in Madera and Yuba counties.

Now the Tribe is making headway with the design, financing and forthcoming construction of its long-awaited casino, though it is faced with the prospect of doing so against the backdrop of a global pandemic. 

“We are thrilled that the court has finally decided this case in our favour,” said North Fork Rancheria Tribal Chair Elaine Bethel-Fink. “Our Tribal citizens and local community have been denied the advantages of Tribal gaming – billions of dollars in economic benefits and thousands of jobs – for far too long.”

The Tribe has been locked in legal battles for a decade, though the Tribe inked an agreement with Las Vegas-based Station Casinos (“Red Rock Resorts”) in 2003. Station Casinos is the manager of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria-owned Graton Resort & Casino in northern California. The majority of Station Casinos’ properties are located throughout the Las Vegas valley.

“This ruling has been a long time coming for the Tribe and we are thrilled to be able to move forward with them on this very attractive project,” said Bob Finch, executive vice president and COO of Red Rock Resorts. “We expect that the tribe will be announcing more details regarding the casino in the near future.”

Due to pandemic-related delays, a groundbreaking hasn’t been set, but it is forthcoming, and local businesses are already excited for the economic opportunities a gaming and entertainment attraction will bring to the area. “Retail businesses have actually been excited about it because they believe it will bring more traffic to their gas station, play on the golf course, perhaps people flying in,” said Robert Poythress, a Madera County Supervisor.