The Hard Rock Cafe & Casino project near Bakersfield moved one step closer to becoming a reality after the federal government gave its approval for the Tejon Indian Tribe to operate a casino venue at the proposed location.
In a statement, Tejon Indian Tribe chairman Octavio Escobedo III said:
“From the start of our relationship with the United States government in 1851, our Tribe has fought for a homeland for our people. Today we are two major steps closer to that dream. The Department’s decision enables us to move closer to the promise of self-determination through economic development.”
Up to Gov. Newsom Now
As reported by the Bakersfield Californian, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney issued a secretarial decision that that found the proposed Bakersfield casino site suitable for the Tejon Indian Tribe’s plans. In the decision, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs wrote that the Bakersfield casino best allows the Tejon Indian Tribe to be self-sufficient and maintain a stable source of income for government projects.
The environmental review process began as early as 2016. With the Federal Government’s determination, the onus is now with Gov. Gavin Newsom, who must concur with the decision of the Federal Government within a year. If the governor agrees, the U.S. Department of Interior will take the land into trust and the tribe will finally have a land they can call home.
A $600M Project
The Tejon Indian Tribe Bakersfield casino project is located in Mettler which is about 14 miles away from Bakersfield. The tribe is planning to build a 166,500 square foot gaming venue there, along with an 11-storey luxury hotel. The hotel building will have 400 rooms, more than 10 restaurants, a convention space, as well as a Hard Rock live events center. A sheriff’s office, fire station, and an RV park are also be built on the site.
The Bakersfield casino project has an estimated cost of $600M and the entire complex is expected to support 3,000 full-time jobs once operational. Hard Rock consultant Scott Nielson said that there are still several steps that need to be completed before an official timeline for the project could be made public.