Hard Rock Tejon gains federal approval

The new California casino is expected to include a 166,500-square-foot gaming floor.
The new California casino is expected to include a 166,500-square-foot gaming floor.

The Tejon Indian Tribe can move forward with the Hard Rock casino resort project.

US.- The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs has agreed to place 320 acres of land near the junction of Highway 99 and 166 into Federal Trust. The process is required to allow the state to enter into a Class III gaming compact with the Tejon Tribe and its partner Hard Rock International to move forward with Hard Rock Tejon, in Kern County, California.

The $600m casino is expected to include a 166,500-square-foot gaming floor, a 400-room, 11-storey hotel, convention space, an event centre, and a restaurant.

Hard Rock said: “Both Hard Rock International and the Tejon Tribe leadership are working diligently to start construction. While we do not have a definitive date, we are working steadfastly to get the project open. “It will take at least 20 months from the groundbreaking to the grand opening.”

Tejon Indian Tribe chair Octavio Escobedo III said: “The Tejon Tribe now has a homeland where its citizens can work and live together and collectively ensure a safe and economic environment for all.”

In September, the California State Senate passed a bill ratifying a gaming compact between the state and the Tejon Indian Tribe. 

Senator Shannon Grove, co-author of the bill, said: “SB 910 will ratify a tribal-state compact that will greatly benefit both the Tejon tribe and Kern County with nearly 5,000 jobs, live entertainment and convention spaces that will bring exciting growth to the area.”

Tejon Indian Tribe executive councilwoman Sandra Hernandez said: “The tribe is definitely elated. I don’t think any of us feel that we have words adequate enough to describe not just the happiness and the elation, but the feeling of what it means to have such a historical vote, directly impact all of us as tribal members.”

See also: California voters reject sports betting proposals

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