Kern County has been flagged as a gambling-approved region as Governor Gavin Newsom signed a tribal gaming compact. The gaming compact allows the Tejon Indian Tribe to run casino services at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and the resort will be on a 320-acre land, according to the tribe.
The Project Was Announced in 2019 and Has Massive Support, According to Newsom
Gov. Newsom stated that the tribal casino project, which was originally announced in 2019, is supported by public representatives, community groups, labor and business groups, as well as law enforcement.
Hard Rock will be located near the 166 Mettler exit off Highway 99. That’s approximately 25 minutes south of Bakersfield and the land belongs to the Tejon Indian Tribe.
In a news release, the tribe noted that it received its first land in the last 150 years. The tribe also added that it looks forward to a “long and rewarding partnership” with the state and showed its appreciation towards the support from Kern County, the Kern County Board of Supervisors, Florida’s Seminole Tribe (owner of the resort) and Hard Rock International.
Some of the acreage left will be used for a healthcare facility, administrative offices, supporting infrastructure and housing for tribal members, the tribal news release notes.
The governor’s office also shared a release concerning the development. The press release noted that the Tejon Indian Tribe “committed through an agreement with Kern County” and will mitigate the impacts of the proposed project.
According to the tribe, Hard Rock’s development and operation will result in 1,000 construction and 2,000 permanent high-wage jobs. A majority of the workforce will be local, which means that the local economy will likely experience a massive boom.
Newsom Is a Well-Known Supporter of the Tribes
Gov. Newsom is no stranger to supporting tribal gaming. At the end of May, he signed Senate Bill 900, which was introduced by Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger). With this bill, certain tribal casino projects will be exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
SB900 does this as it ratifies compacts between the state and its two tribes and classifies them as non-projects for the purposes of CEQA. The two tribes in question are the Middletown Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians and the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe.
In a release, Hurtado stated that she is happy that the Tachi Yokut Tribe will finally “receive the recognition that they deserve” as the tribe has been a valuable community partner for many years. Leo Sisco, the chairman of the Tachi Yokut Tribe, thanked Hurtado and added that the tribe is happy to continue its role as a “positive economic force.”