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From your local Sacramento neighborhood expert, Carlos Montoya

Federal government formalizes approval of $500 million Elk Grove casino

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The effort by the Wilton Rancheria tribe to develop a $500 million casino resort in Elk Grove on Monday received formal approval from the federal government on Monday, as the tribe’s compact with the state of California was published in the Federal Register.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the tribal gaming compact in October, for the Wilton Rancheria to develop a casino resort on 36 acres inside a dormant mall site, just off Highway 99 on the south end of Elk Grove.

The U.S. Department of the Interior published a notice approving the compact on Monday. The compact allows the tribe to operate up to 2,500 electronic gaming devices, plus card tables.

“This is another milestone on our journey to self-sufficiency,” said Wilton Rancheria tribal chairman Raymond “Chuckie” Hitchcock. He said the tribe is now working on construction and design plans, and interviewing contractors for the development, which could break ground this summer.

The 758-member tribe and its financing partner Boyd Gaming Corp. (NYSE: BYD) of Las Vegas bought the land for the casino last February. A few weeks later, the federal government took the land into trust for the tribe.

The proposed Elk Grove casino would include 110,000 square feet of gaming floor, multiple restaurants, a spa, 302-room hotel tower and the region’s largest convention center outside of downtown Sacramento.

Last September, the Wilton Rancheria tribe agreed to a deal with the city, under which it would pay Elk Grove $132 million over 20 years as mitigation for the casino’s impacts once it’s open.

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