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US – Picayune Rancheria reopens Chukchansi Gold Resort

By - 4 January 2016

The Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians Tribal Council reopened the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino on December 31, just over two months after the seating of a new Tribal council who worked to secure the numerous agreements with local, state and federal authorities.

A formal reopening ceremony for the Californian casino will take place on January 15, 2016.

“Since our 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 for our customers,” Tribal Chairwoman Claudia Gonzales said. “We are thankful for the support of our members and believe this is an important first step in bringing prosperity back to our people.”
“Our team at Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino have been busy preparing for our reopening. We are looking forward to providing the very best casino and resort experience for our returning and new customers,” said Christian Goode, Chief Operating Officer of Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino.

Initially, the Casino will reopen its doors with more than 56,000 square feet of gaming space featuring more than 1,700 reel and video slot machines and 22 table games.

When fully operational in mid-January, Chukchansi will once again become a culinary hub as it will feature seven in-house restaurants that will offer customers a wide array of cuisines boasting of some of the best Asian, American, and traditional comfort foods the region has to offer. The restaurants in total will have close to 700 seats and will have some of the best chefs in town including the renowned Michel Re.

Chukchansi’s 200-seat entertainment venue, Firehouse Lounge, will once again feature live music, comedy and sports entertainment.
Initially, the resort will reopen with 220 hotel rooms and suites in the 11-story Picayune Tower. Later in 2016, the Chukchansi Tower will re-open with almost another 200 rooms and suites. Guest rooms include breathtaking sunrise and sunset views overlooking the valley and will have amenities including flat-screen plasma TV’s, mini fridges, personal safes, high-speed Internet and much more.

The Resort also boosts many other attractions including a full service spa, Serenity Springs Spa and Salon. The 13,000 square foot spa offers massages, pedicures, facials and hair styling. A fitness room will be available 24 hours and an indoor/outdoor heated pool and swim-up poolside bar. There are three conference rooms and an outdoor gazebo for events or meetings.

United States District Court Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill issued the final order allowing for the reopening of Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino. He stated in his order “Upon the NIGC’s lifting the Closure Order, the Tribe may operate the Casino.”

The Judge was referring to action wherein the Federal Government signed off on a final agreement with the newly elected Tribal Council. Today the court took the last step necessary to allow the Tribe to move forward and set an opening date.

“It’s a great day for our Tribe and the people of Madera County,” said Tribal Chairwoman Claudia Gonzales. “With the final legal documents in place, we can now continue to move quickly to reopen and put employees back to work. And while we don’t yet have a specific date, we expect to announce it very shortly. Then we can join together – the Tribe and the Community – to celebrate a grand reopening.”

In October, 2014, the Chairman issued a notice of violation and temporary closure order for all gaming activity at the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino because the Tribe was operating the gaming facility in a manner that threatened public health and safety. The Chairman had also issued notices of violation and a temporary closure order because the Tribe had failed to submit annual independent audits, financial statements, and agreed-upon procedure reports for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. The settlement agreement resolves these issues and seeks to ensure the on-going health and safety of the gaming operation and its employees and patrons.
The settlement agreement allows the Tribe to reopen its gaming facility under certain conditions. A significant condition of the settlement agreement is that the Tribe agrees to pay a fine in the amount of $19,845,000, a portion of which will be suspended as long as the Tribe adheres to the settlement agreement.

The agreement further details both pre-opening conditions and post-opening conditions the Tribe must meet to ensure the safety and health of patrons and employees and compliance with NIGC audit regulations, including a requirement for the NIGC to conduct a full Internal Control Assessment within nine months of the opening date.
The Agreement specifies that if anything occurs to threaten the health and safety of the facility or its patrons and employees, the closure orders will be immediately reinstated and the suspended fine amount will be due. Furthermore, if deadlines or terms of the agreement are not met by the Tribe, the settlement agreement provides that the Tribe must cease and desist all gaming activity. NIGC will continue to monitor the Tribe’s gaming activity and enforce the settlement agreement, as well as investigate and enforce against any new or reoccurring threat to health and safety, or violations of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, NIGC’s regulations and the Tribe’s Gaming Ordinance.

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