What happens next? New plans by Enterprise Rancheria for a gambling operation that's been in a tug of war for more than a decade have people conjecturing.
Some are looking forward to the project because of the development and the jobs it would bring to the area and possible boost to the overall tourism industry. Some are not excited at all about more gambling in the area, both for the societal implications and for the competition — splitting up basically about the same customer base more ways. County and city officials are looking forward to boosts in the budget.
The tribe changed things up dramatically recently, upgrading plans from a small, temporary, placeholder casino operation to a much larger permanent casino building.
The Butte County tribe said in a federal court filing it has secured financing to build a permanent Class II casino along Forty Mile Road — more than 105,750 square feet with 31,000 square feet devoted to the casino business.
They originally wanted to build a full-scale casino with all types of gambling. But the lawsuits could have gone on forever. So they switched back to Class II gambling, which doesn't require federal approval on land already placed into trust.
Class II gambling is basically bingo and similar games and also allows "non-banked" card games — that is, games where players play against each other without the house or a particular player acting as a bank.
We don't know if there are thoughts of getting this project done and eventually moving up to Class III gambling (slots, blackjack, craps, roulette, etc.). Some might worry about that. And, frankly, we're not crazy about gambling — and while "bingo" makes people think of some sort of parlor game (how risky could that be?), people still can lose a lot.
But the land is in trust; the law is the law; and irresponsible people shouldn't preclude responsible people from playing games.
At issue now is whether the tribe should have to immediately make payments to the city of Marysville, and when construction starts to Yuba County. Agreements were made 13 years ago to make payments in exchange for support of the original project. They called for one-time payments to Yuba County of nearly $700,000 and to Marysville of $100,000.
Enterprise Rancheria spokesman John Maier said in a story the tribe "remains committed to its agreements with Yuba County and Marysville."
So … what next?