Tribal Casinos-Bigger Than You Think!

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Foxwoods Tribal Casino
The Biggest Casino in the U.S.

Smaller Now, Bigger Later: Is Sonoma County in for a rude awakening?  Although the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) approved a casino project smaller than the 750,000 square foot project originally planned by Graton Rancheria, that doesn't mean that it won't get bigger later. In fact, expansion of the existing project is discussed in county documents. The question is, just how big will it get?

The answer? As big as they want.

Most people don't know that when it comes to Indian projects on Indian trust land, after five years, the tribes can do whatever they want with their land. That means that the NIGC's "approval" of a smaller project was only to lull you into a false sense of security.  Five years from now, Graton Rancheria can expand the casino,

That's what happened in the case of the San Manuel Band in Highlands, CA, which took some land into trust beside their existing land. The stated purpose, as approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) was for soccer fields that the whole community could use. And use them they did, until five years later when the tribe tore up the fields and built its humungous casino parking structure instead. You can see the results in the picutres below.  And the BIA did not, indeed, could not, say boo about it.

So if you're thinking that it won't be too bad, it's not that big, remember that it's still the biggest commercial project in the area, and that in five years, the odds are good that it will mushroom to a size that will rival the biggest tribal casinos in the country.

SO WHAT DO TRIBAL CASINOS LOOK LIKE?  Here are a few pictures, and some of these are similar in size now to Graton Casino.

LIVING NEXT TO A BIG CASINO: San Manuel Casino in Highlands, CA

Residential neighborhood San Manuel Casino

Residential neighborhood near San Manuel Casino


The bars on this house are there to protect the occupants from the low-lifes and thieves going to and from the casino, and from the prostitutes who now ply their trade on these residential streets.

San Manuel Casino

Aerial view of San Manuel Casino
Right in a residential neighborhood!


Whole Foods Complex, Novato
At 420,000 sq. ft,

BIG, ISN'T IT?  This is the new Whole Foods Millworks project currently underway in Novato.  Pretty big, isn't it?  Yet as big as this project is, at 420,000 sq. ft.,  This is about the size of Phase I of the Graton Rancheria casino. Phase II could be twice the size.

THUNDER VALLEY CASINO, Station Casinos other California tribal casino in Lincoln, CA.  Before and After its expansion that added the hotel.
Thunder Valley Before Expansion


Thunder Valley After expansion

Aerial View of Thunder Valley Casino
BUilt by Station Casinos/Perini

PECHANGA CASINO in Southern California - one of the state's biggest casinos, on a par with the size planned for the Graton Rancheria casino in Rohnert Park!

Pechanga Casino


Cache Creek Casino, Yolo County

PALA CASINO in Southern California

Pala Casino

SYCUAN CASINO in Southern California

Sycuan Casino

  Graton Casino Crime Watch, Rohnert Park, CA
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