Hard Rock Casino Near Bakersfield Gets Approval from Federal Government

Casinos in California
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.

$48M in Building Permits Filed For Repair of Gulf Coast Casinos

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A recently published report revealed the severity of the damage caused by Hurricane Zeta to Biloxi casinos.

The city of Biloxi has issued several permits to repair the damages caused by the October storm. These repairs include exterior damages to buildings, electrical and plumbing systems, and damages to parking garages that were flooded during the storm.

Most of the casinos in the area were closed during the storm. Some were closed for several days until power was restored. The casinos have since reopened but some have been undergoing repair while continuing to serve their patrons.

Damage in the Gulf Coast

Mississippi has a total of 26 casinos and 12 of these are in the Gulf Coast, including eight in Biloxi. Of the eight Biloxi casinos, four have contracted the Mississippi based Yates Construction to do fix damages caused by Hurricane Zeta.

According to the Biloxi Sun Herald, Yates has filed building permits totalling $48M to repair damages suffered by the said Biloxi casinos. The permits were issued for repairs to Beau Rivage Casino and Resort ($20M), Hard Rock Hotel and Casino ($20M), IP Resort Casino and Spa ($5M), and Harrah’s Gulf Coast Hotel and Casino ($3M).

Record Breaking Hurricane Season

Hurricane Zeta landed in the early morning of October 28 South of New Orleans, near Cocodrie, Louisiana. With winds stronger than 100 mph, the storm battered the Crescent City, killing six people before moving east to Mississippi and beyond. Zeta was one of the five storms to hit Louisiana during this year’s hurricane season. It caused significant damage to the four casino mentioned earlier.

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season has produced 30 named hurricanes so far and is one for the record books. Storms Ion, Delta, and Eta had winds that intensified by 100 mph in three or fewer hours. According to experts, that has happened only once in the last 169 years. The hurricane season ends on November 30 but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any major storms after that.