Gaming facilities across the capital region are booming with expansions and new construction. Here’s a look at four new developments tied to local casino operations.
Cache Creek Antes Up
The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation of Brooks, who already own and operate the massive Cache Creek Casino and Resort (as well as several other Brooks-based businesses), plan to expand their hotel in a $161 million deal with Yolo County. The expansion will add more than 450 rooms, more than tripling its current capacity — making it the largest hotel in the region. No additional gaming space is planned, but construction will include a new pool, restaurant, meeting space and ballroom. Leland Kinter, the tribe’s chairman, called it “an incredible opportunity for our entire community,” in a press release. The hotel expansion is expected to be completed by Dec. 2018.
Thunder Valley’s Ace In The Hole
Thunder Valley, in Lincoln, recently agreed to sponsor the top floor of a driving range near the successful casino and resort. Topgolf Roseville will rename its VIP room the “Thunder Valley Rooftop Terrace.” Entry comes with sweeping views across the Topgolf driving range and out onto the casino’s grounds. The sponsorship agreement also includes branded pillows, signs, displays and the Thunder Valley logo etched into the glass windows of the third floor.
Elks Tower Goes All In
Despite opposition to the project by the rival owners of the Parkwest Casino Lotus and Capitol Casino, Elks Gaming and Entertainment is planning to build a small card room inside the Elks Tower in downtown Sacramento. The operation would use the space previously occupied by the RailBridge Cellars & Co. restaurant and use the city’s vacant gaming license, up for grabs since the November 2014 closure of Casino Royale. The casino and lounge will open in October, and owner Steve Ayers says they plan to draw customers for the 24/7 venue from surrounding attractions, such as the Golden 1 Center. “We’re looking to do something extremely unique for our entire region, to provide a place unlike any other,” Ayers says.
Fire Mountain’s Wild Card
The Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of the Enterprise Rancheria (of Yuba County) is constructing a new casino just 30 minutes north of Lincoln’s Thunder Valley, near Wheatland. Right now the tribe only holds a Class II gaming license, but are angling for a Class III, which would put it in the same category as the luxury casino and resorts of Thunder Valley and Cache Creek. Construction broke ground in early April 2016, and is expected to cost $170 million.
Editor’s note: The groundbreaking of Fire Mountain casino occurred in April 2016, not 2017, as originally stated.
Susan Jensen, executive director of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, offers her insight into the challenges facing tribal casino operations.
While the project has support from city officials, some residents and special interest groups continue their attempts to stall it. Regardless, plans for the casino move forward.