Judge says governor must negotiate with North Fork Rancheria over proposed casino

The North Fork tribe is continuing to pursue their desire to build a 305-acre casino and hotel north of Madera, despite the fact that California voters rejected the previously agreed upon gaming compact in Proposition 48 last November.

In December the Fresno Bee reported that U.S. District Court Judge Anthony W. Ishii said that, “Gov. Jerry Brown acted in ‘bad faith’ by ending negotiations,” and “has ordered the state to return to talks with North Fork Rancheria officials on a gaming compact.” The Bee also said that the judge’s ruling cited federal law in claiming the governor must negotiate with the tribe and reach a conclusion within 60 days, otherwise a mediator will be appointed.

The Bee said that the tribe maintains its compact with the state, accepted by Brown and the state legislature, was legally ratified before voters negated it and are “encouraged by the judge’s decision.”

Opponents of the casino maintained through Prop 48 that putting a casino in that location was what is referred to as “off-reservation gaming.” Dan Casas, counsel for Table Mountain Casino, was quoted by The Bee as saying, “The bigger picture for us is that if the state is going to allow ‘off-reservation gaming’ they should allow it for everybody.”