At 10:00 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino was open once again after being closed for over a year amidst controversy and tribal infighting. Their final hurdle was overcome when Judge Lawrence O’Neill of the U.S. District Court made a ruling lifting his previous order to close the casino.
A grand opening is planned for Jan. 15.
The judge ruled that because the tribe had reached agreements with the state and federal governments, as well as Madera County, they could re-open the casino despite some lingering disagreements within the tribe.
As part of the Chukchansi tribe’s agreement with the federal government they will pay the feds $500,000 in 2016 and have supervised audits. The rest of their $19.3 million fine has been suspended—as long as the tribe abides by its agreements with the federal government, a major part of which has to do with the safety of their employees and customers.
In their pact with Madera County the tribe agreed to pay for a full-time deputy with an office at the casino and purchase a vehicle that allows firefighters access to the top of their 11-story hotel.
In a prepared statement released prior to the re-opening Tribal Chairwoman Claudia Gonzales said, “Since our (October) election, the Tribal Council has worked every day with our government partners, casino management team and local business partners to get Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino ready to open. We are thankful for the support of our members and believe this is an important first step in bringing prosperity back to our people.”
As of press time their poker room was not open and no word was available as to when and if it would be.