The U.S. BIA Will Soon Hear the Koi Nation of Northern California’s Casino Proposal

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is set to hold a public hearing this week of a $600 million tribal gaming site north of Santa Rosa and San Francisco, California. The Koi Nation of Northern California proposed the huge tribal casino resort in the renowned wine-growing region.

The federal government recognized the Native tribe in 2019, and it concentrated on casino gaming to strengthen its economic independence. Yet, other Indian tribes in the country run various gaming properties like the Mohegan Tribe.

The Koi Nation located land with its historical connection in September 2021 at Old Redwood Highway and E. Shiloh Road. Its owner was selling the 68.6-acre parcel at an affordable rate. However, the country comprises a private estate and vineyard.

The Native tribe and the land’s owner created an agreement that will transfer its ownership once the Department of the Interior (DOI) takes it into federal trust. But it hasn’t completed its review.

The Gaming Proposals

The BIA did a detailed Environmental Assessment of the tribes’ gaming project on the parcel. It will hold a public hearing on September 27 to reveal its review’s conclusions. But it will be a virtual meeting that Sonoma County residents can follow online.

Koi Nation’s representatives and BIA officials will describe the tribe’s three projects’ scopes to the public, highlighting their impact on the environment. The tribe wants to construct a huge casino with over 538,000 square feet of indoor gaming. Its amenities will include a spa, many restaurants, and a hotel.

If the BIA discovers that the projects will destroy the region’s environment, Koi Nation is ready can build a small casino with a 406,000 square feet indoor venue. Still, another likelihood would be the tribe shelving its gaming goal and developing a hotel accompanying the winery.

Its primary proposal is a 114,000-square-foot casino floor, a bookmaker, 105 table games, and 2,750 slot machines. Still, it will have a 14,0000 square feet spa, many quick-service eateries, bars, and a 400-room hotel. The property will have over 600 parking lots on its 1.2 million square feet garage.

Koi Nation Is Facing Opposition from Other Tribes

The Indian tribe says that the land is an essential component in its history. It is 75 miles away from San Francisco and 10 miles from Santa Rosa. Nevertheless, other tribes that have lived in the region longer are opposing the Koi Nation’s assertions.

Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians and the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria run River Rock Casino and Graton Resort & Casino, respectively. They are opposing the Koi Nation’s proposal, claiming that it will infringe their land.

The Federated Indians refer to Koi Nation as reservation shopping as a way of discouraging non-gaming tribes from purchasing desirable land and releasing it to the federal trust. The BIA will forward its recommendations to Secretary Deb Haaland and DOI before they make their final decision.

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