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No casino in Petaluma, California until 2032 has an agreement with Dry Creek Pomo

Publication date: May 7, 2021, 05: 49 h.

Last updated: May 7, 2021, 05: 49 h.

Philip Conneller

The Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians has promised not to build a casino in Petaluma, California until at least 2032.

Pomo
Dry Creek Pomo owns River Rock Casino near Geyserville, 45 miles north of Petaluma. (Photo: Sonoma County Tourism)

The deal, mixed with Sonoma County officials reluctant to the casino, was done after the county agreed to waive its annual $750, 000 payment from the tribe for 2020 and 2021.

The tribe has a revenue-sharing agreement with the county for the River Rock Casino on its reservation near Geyserville, 45 km north of Petaluma. But the casino closed for two and a half months at the start of the pandemic, leading to a significant loss of revenue.

Ownership

tribe's acres of land south of Petaluma have long made residents nervous. It has the right to establish a second casino in Sonoma County, the heart of California's wine country, under an agreement with the state.

In 2005, he applied to the federal government to take the land in trust for gaming purposes. He has since suspended the application. But some locals are still unsure that the casino remains a long-term goal.

Strategic Advantage

The River Rock has suffered since the 2013 opening of Graton Casino Resort in Rohnert Park, which was also fiercely opposed by Sonoma County officials and local residents.

Owned by the Federated Band of Graton Rancheria and operated by Boyd Gaming, it is the largest casino in Northern California and cuts steps from River Rock of the Bay Area.

Petaluma Casino let Dry Creek Pomo skip Graton Casino and potentially reconnect with this move.

The first agreement between Dry Creek Pomo and Sonoma County officials to stop the casino arrived 2006, shortly after Petaluma residents voted by an eighty percent majority to oppose the tribe's plan.

The tribe and county signed a memorandum of understanding that they had resolved several legal disputes related to River Rock while eliminating the casino in Petaluma by 2016.

"No plans for Petaluma casino"

The new agreement extended the ban through 2025. The River Rock has suffered from the impact of the Graton resort, and the tribe was only too happy to sign an agreement that reduced its payments to the county from $3.5 million a year to a minimum of $750, 000. The 2015 agreement will save the tribe tens of millions over the next decade.

Tribal Chairman Chris Wright, who doesn't usually speak to the press, said in 2015 that there are no plans for a casino on the Petaluma thread. He explained that, among other things, getting approval would be too difficult.

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