Northern California Tribe Signs State Gaming Compact, Sacramento Casino Cleared

Posted on: August 7, 2020, 10:05h. 

Last updated on: August 7, 2020, 10:51h.

A Northern California tribe has entered into a state gaming compact with Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), clearing the way for the Native American group to build a casino just east of Sacramento in Plymouth.

Northern California tribe casino Newsom
Gov. Gavin Newsom has given a tribe in Northern California the go-ahead for a casino. (Image: KSRO/

The Ione Band of Miwok Indians and Newsom agreed to terms that allow the tribe to operate Class III gaming on its sovereign land in Plymouth near State Highway 49. The arrangement permits the federally recognized Native American community to construct up to two casinos on the 220 acres of land that it acquired back in 2012.

This opportunity will not only improve the quality of life for our Tribe, but also allow us to bring hundreds of competitive career opportunities and economic viability to our community,” Ione Band of Miwok Indians Chairperson Sara Dutschke said.

The tribe’s revenue-sharing obligations to the state will be determined based on the number of slot machines and table games its casino implements, as outlined in the compact.

Coronavirus Delays

It’s been a long process for the Ione Band of Miwok Indians to become a gaming tribe, one Dutschke says dates back more than 20 years. She says the tribe’s fight to have its land restored took over a century.

In April, against plenty of opposition, the US Department of the Interior took the tribe’s 220 acres of land into federal trust. County officials had sued the Native American community, claiming they had no historical ties to the Plymouth area.

A federal judge disagreed in 2015, and the Interior Department found evidence it did, and was also a recognized tribe by the US government in 1934. That’s a key condition of the DOI taking newly acquired lands into trust under the Indian Reorganization Act.

The tribe has finally been cleared to proceed with its gaming intentions, but the coronavirus is further delaying that mission. Dutschke says COVID has disrupted many of the tribe’s economic plans, and there’s currently no information regarding the size or scope of its forthcoming casino.

The Ione Band of Miwok Indians claims to have more than 750 members and is governed by a five-member elected tribal council. The majority of the tribe’s members reside in Amador County, Sacramento, and Elk Grove.

Sacramento Saturation

COVID delaying the Ione’s casino ambitions is welcomed news to the two Northern California tribes that already operate casinos in the region.

The Ione land is just 15 miles north of Harrah’s Northern California, a casino with 950 slot machines and 20 table games. It is owned by the Buena Vista Rancheria Me-Wuk Indians. The Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort, a gaming floor with 1,525 slots and more than 40 tables, is less than 10 miles from the Ione sovereign land.