SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today concurred with the Department of the Interior’s decisions to allow 305 acres in Madera County to be placed in trust for the North Fork Rancheria Band of Mono Indians for the purpose of establishing a class III gaming facility and signed a tribal-state gaming compact between the State of California and the Tribe.
The compact includes provisions to protect employees and patrons as well as measures to protect the environment during the construction and operation of gaming facilities. It also funds programs in local communities to mitigate the effect of gaming activities and address gambling addiction.
The compact allows the operation of 2,000 slot machines. The Tribe estimates that the project will create approximately 750 construction jobs and 1,500 jobs at the new facility. The compact requires regular audits of gaming operations and other enforcement and public safety measures.
A copy of the compact can be found here. The Governor’s letter to Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar concurring with the U.S. Department of Interior’s decision is copied below:
August 30, 2012
Kenneth L. Salazar, Secretary of the Interior
United States Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240
Re: Two-Part Determination–North Fork Rancheria Band of Mono Indians
Dear Secretary Salazar:
I concur with your determination to allow 305 acres in Madera County to be placed in trust for the North Fork Rancheria Band of Mono Indians for the purpose of establishing a class III gaming facility. While I am reluctant to allow the expansion of gaming on land currently ineligible for it, I concur in your determination in this case because of several exceptional circumstances:
• The federal administrative process giving rise to your determination was extremely thorough. The process lasted more than seven years, included numerous hearings, considered hundreds of comments, and generated thousands of pages of administrative records.
• A large tribal population will directly benefit from the gaming facility. The North Fork Mono’s compact guarantees that revenues from the gaming facility will be shared directly with the Wiyot Tribe, which has agreed to forgo gaming on its own lands – including environmentally sensitive areas. The two tribes are comprised of approximately 2,500 native Californians.
• Other tribes will indirectly benefit from the gaming facility. The North Fork Mono’s compact provides assistance to other tribes by requiring substantial contributions to the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund and the Tribal Nation Grant Fund.
• The ability of other tribes to benefit from gaming will not be unduly harmed. The North Fork Mono’s compact specifically provides mitigation for the only tribe likely to be affected by the gaming facility, the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi.
• The gaming facility is supported by both Madera County and the City of Madera, and the regional gaming market can support the project along with existing gaming facilities.
• The location of the gaming facility will not be within a major metropolitan area.
• The North Fork Mono has a significant historical connection with the land.
I expect there will be few requests from other tribes that will present the same kind of exceptional circumstances to support a similar expansion of tribal gaming land.
Edmund G. Brown Jr.