Governor Newsom Inks Gaming Compact with Ione Band of Miwok Indians That Seeks to Establish Casino in Amador County

California Governor Gavin Newsom inked a gaming compact with the Ione Band of Miwok Indians, with the deal being considered a major accomplishment in the tribe’s attempt to establish a casino in Amador County.

Under the terms of the compact, the Indian tribe will be given the opportunity to build a gambling property that offers off-track horse race betting, as well as card tables and up to 1,200 slot machines. Sara Dutschke, the Chair of the tribe, shared that the compact agreement would result in various opportunities for the Ione Band of Miwok Indians and its members.

Ms. Dutschke reminded that almost twenty years passed before the compact agreement between the state and the tribe was finally reached, but the process of restoring land to the tribe was a much longer process that took over a century. She shared that the members of the Native American nation were excited to have their land restored, as they planned to use it beyond the gaming aspects involved in the gambling contract with the state of California. Currently, the tribe has more than 750 members.

Two Tribal Casinos Already Operate in Amador County

As revealed by the Ione Band of Miwok Indians’ chairperson, the coronavirus outbreak has forced the tribe to change many of its plans. Ms. Dutschke, however, was unable to provide more specific information about the upcoming casino construction. Furthermore, she said she could not comment on the size of the tribe’s casino project or its planned amenities.

When it is completed, the Ione Band of Miwok Indians’ gambling venue would become Amador County’s third tribal casino. The first gambling venue that started operation in the region was the casino that is owned by the Jackson Rancheria Tribe. Last year, the Buena Vista Band of Me-Wuk Indians finally started the operation of its Harrah’s Northern California casino in Amador County.

Tribal casinos were made legal nationwide with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which came into effect in 1988. After that, the state of California needed ten years to start making compact agreements with Native American nations. Some Indian tribes, especially the ones that are required to get land placed into trust in order to build a casino, have been locked in lengthy legal and administrative battles.

More than 220 acres of land were taken into trust on behalf of the tribe by the federal government in April 2020. The piece of land is situated in Plymouth and is adjacent to State Highway 49.

The fall of 2019 saw the Wilton Rancheria overcome a lawsuit filed against the Indian tribe and its efforts to establish a casino venue. In addition, the tribe managed to proceed with its plans to start the construction of its planned gaming venue in Elk Grove. The facility would become part of the six tribal casinos that are currently operating on the territory of the Sacramento area. The newest casino that started operation in the region was the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento, which opened in Yuba County last fall.