Wilton Rancheria Resort Casino Near Sacramento Targets 2022 Debut, $500M Secured

Posted on: March 1, 2021, 01:04h. 

Last updated on: March 1, 2021, 01:39h.

The proposed $500 million Wilton Rancheria Resort and Casino in Elk Grove, Ca., is a major step closer to reality.

Wilton Rancheria casino resort Boyd Gaming
Funding has been secured to transform the so-called “ghost mall” in Elk Grove, California, seen here in 2019, into a resort casino. The Wilton Rancheria tribe and Boyd Gaming are behind the $500 million project. (Image: The Sacramento Bee)

The half billion-dollar project is being codeveloped by the Wilton Rancheria tribe and Boyd Gaming. In recent securities filings made by Boyd, the publicly traded commercial gaming operator confirms that the partnership has secured third-party financing for the complex.

This historic accomplishment results from over a decade of intensive research, communication, and relationship-building with the City of Elk Grove and our development partner, Boyd Gaming,” a Wilton Rancheria statement declared. “As part of this financing, we are also proud to announce that a groundbreaking ceremony is under development and will be announced in the coming days.”

Specific financing terms were not disclosed, nor was the identity of the third-party financier(s).

Betting the Rancheria

The Wilton Rancheria Resort and Casino project has been many years in the making. The tribe has been trying to open a casino since it regained federal recognition in 2009.

In 2017, after numerous legal challenges and setbacks that ran several years, the US Department of the Interior (DOI) took approximately 36 acres of land located just off Highway 99 at Kammerer Road in Elk Grove into federal trust. The tribe paid $36 million for the property. The DOI decision moved the Native American group closer to operating a casino.

That same year, the tribe and State of California entered into a Class III gaming compact. The legal arrangement allows the Wilton Rancheria tribe to operate slot machines and table games on the sovereign land.

But the federal government dragged its feet in signing off on the gaming compact. That led to further delays for commencing construction. The Interior Department finally approved of the gaming revenue sharing document in 2019.

Financing for the casino, however, wasn’t easy to find. That changed when Boyd Gaming aligned with the tribe.

Last year, the tribe and Boyd expanded the resort’s potential footprint by acquiring 64 acres of land adjacent to the Wilton Rancheria land for $24.5 million. The seller was the Howard Hughes Corporation, which abandoned its plans to build a large open-air shopping center after partially constructing the complex.

Now, with financing complete, the $500 million resort is moving forward.

California Capital Casino

The current design for the Wilton Rancheria Resort and Casino includes a 302-room hotel, gaming floor with 2,000 slot machines and 84 table games, multiple restaurants, a spa, and a convention center.

Located just 15 miles south of downtown Sacramento, Wilton Rancheria will be the closest casino with slots and table games to California’s capital city. Sacramento is California’s sixth-most populated city, with more than half a million residents.

With this location of a major highway just south of Sacramento, this resort will be the closest Class 3 casino to downtown Sacramento,” Boyd Gaming CEO Keith Smith said during the company’s full-year 2020 earnings call last month.

Smith added that the company and Wilton Rancheria tribe are targeting an opening in the second half of 2022.