Chumash Amend Tribal-State Compact To Include Off-Track Wagering

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians will be permitted to provide off-track wagering at its Chumash Casino Resort, if the Interior ratifies a bill that California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Thursday to amend the tribal-state gaming compact.

Brown initially signed the negotiated amendment to the tribe’s 2015 compact on Aug. 2, authorizing off-track wagering on horse races at a satellite wagering facility within the tribe’s gaming facility. The State Legislature ratified the amendment by approving AB 3262 in the Senate with a 39-0 vote on Aug. 28 and a 64-0 vote in the Assembly on Aug. 29. It will now go to the U.S. Department of the Interior for final approval.

“This amendment to our 2015 Tribal-State Compact will allow us to add off-track wagering to our offering at the Chumash Casino Resort,” said Kenneth Kahn, Tribal Chairman for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “We have no immediate plans to implement OTB, but we are looking at ways we can integrate it into our gaming floor if we choose to offer it as an amenity for guests in the future.”

While testifying in front of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee on Aug. 22, Kahn noted the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians’ desire to be approved for off-track wagering, as other tribes have recently, through a compact amendment.

“When we negotiated our new tribal-state gaming compact in 2015, we left in it a placeholder for a future off-track wagering compact, also called an OTB Compact,” Kahn said. “Since that time, other new or renegotiated gaming compacts have included OTB Compacts as attachments to their Class III Gaming Compacts. Today, we ask you to ratify the first amendment to the Chumash Class III Gaming Compact to add Appendix E to the Chumash Tribal-State Gaming Compact to permit off-track wagering on horse races at a satellite wagering facility on the Santa Ynez Chumash Indian Reservation.”

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 requires that tribes sign negotiated compacts, or agreements, in good faith, with their state governments to clarify a range of jurisdictional issues surrounding regulation and scope of gaming. Each compact must be negotiated with the Governor, ratified by the State Legislature, and finally, approved by the Department of the Interior. As of November 2016, a total of 74 tribal governments have signed such compacts with the state of California.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians owns and operates the Chumash Casino Resort, which is located on the tribe’s reservation on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, California. The tribe also owns Hotel Corque, Root 246 and Hadsten House in Solvang, Kitá Wines and two gas stations in Santa Ynez. As the largest employer in the Santa Ynez Valley, the tribe employs more than 2,000 residents of Santa Barbara County.