An artist's rendering of the proposed Table Mountain gaming facility in Friant. The Business Journal won a first-place award for this article Saturday.
Written by John Lindt
Table Mountain Rancheria north of Fresno is planning a new, larger casino as well as a hotel adjacent their existing casino facility, according to an environmental report released a few days ago.
The existing 30-year old casino building would be used as tribal government offices after the new, nearly 600,000 square-foot casino-hotel is built some 900 feet west of the existing building.
According to the report, the new casino-hotel would feature an approximately 110,000 square-foot gaming floor, 151-room hotel, 11,750 restaurant seats, childcare facility, bingo hall, 1,500-seat special event center and ancillary facilities.
The existing facility has 72,000 square feet of gaming floor and no hotel accommodations.
The proposed project would employ 1,454 total employees, which is an increase of 454 employees from those employed by the existing casino.
“We want to build a facility that will sustain us for generations to come,” said Dan Casas, the tribe’s legal counsel. Construction could start early next year with completion sometime in 2020-21.
“We will soon announce our general contractor and there will be plenty of jobs for all the trades in the Valley,” added Casas.
Casas said the Table Mountain Rancheria has come a long way since 1987 when gambling was launched in a small pre-engineered building with an 8-foot ceiling and some bingo tables.
The new facility will be state-of-the art and self-financed, he said. “We have no plans to sell alcohol,” Casas added.
Indian gaming revenues continue to increase. In 2016, total Indian gaming revenues were up more than 4 percent across the nation and up more than 6.3 percent in the Sacramento region. The National Indian Gaming Commission released the Fiscal Year 2016 Gross Gaming Revenue numbers totaling $31.2 billion, an overall increase of 4.4 percent from 244 tribes. A new report for 2017 is expected in a few weeks.
A public meeting on the Table Mountain project will be held on June 28 at the Ramada Inn, located at 324 E. Shaw Ave. in Fresno, to receive comments on the project. The public meeting will start at 6 p.m. and run until the last comment is heard or 9 p.m., whichever occurs earliest.
The Table Mountain Rancheria is a federally recognized tribe of people from the Chukchansi band of Yokuts and the Monache tribe. It is also the tribe’s Rancheria, located in Fresno County.
The tribe owns and operates Table Mountain Casino, Eagle Springs Golf Course, the Eagle’s Landing restaurant, Mountain Feast Buffet and TM Cafe, all located in the Friant community.