The first tribal casino in Sacramento County, Sky River Casino, is officially open two weeks ahead of schedule. Owned by the Wilton Rancheria tribe, the California casino is operated by Boyd Gaming and is located in Elk Grove, just 15 miles south of downtown Sacramento.
Boyd has a seven-year agreement to manage Sky River and will receive a standard management fee.
When it comes to profits and economic benefit, Sky River said it would contribute $125 million to the local economy over the next few years. The success would be a huge benefit for both the tribe and Boyd – which is continually looking to expand.
Speaking on the early opening, Jesus Tarango, chairman of the Wilton Rancheria tribe, had this to say:
“That’s what you get when you get a good partner with Boyd Gaming. They’ve been in the game; they know how to do it.”
The casino, which adds yet another property for gambling in California, will still hold a grand opening in September.
Boyd Gaming expands portfolio with new Sky River Casino in California
Developed by Boyd, the casino costs $500 million and sits on a 36-acre lot in south Elk Grove. The property has roughly 110,200 square feet of gaming space and includes 2,000 slot machines, 80 table games and a 12-table poker room.
Other amenities include:
17 new bars and restaurants
Chris Gibase, the casino’s president and chief operating officer, told the Elk Grove Citizen that the casino also hired nearly 2,000 employees.
In time, Gibase said customers could expect the casino to transform into a Las Vegas-style casino & resort.
“If you look, all four sides of this building are capable of expanding. So you can expect a large hotel, entertainment complexes, showrooms, spas, pools – pretty much everything you would see in a Las Vegas Strip hotel will be on this property. This will be an economic driver for not only Elk Grove, but for Sacramento County.”
The project first materialized in 2016 when the tribe announced it wanted to bring a casino to Elk Grove. In 2017, California lawmakers signed a state/tribal compact with the Wilton Rancheria tribe. A year later, the compact and Boyd Gamings management was approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission.
Economic benefits for both Boyd and the California tribe
Gibase said “This is a game changer, an entertainment complex like no other.”
During its Q2 earnings call, Boyd executives noted how important new US casino markets were to the company’s overall plans.
At the time, president and CEO Keith Smith said:
“We look forward to a successful opening of Sky River and are proud to partner with the tribe as they achieve their vision of self-sufficiency.”
Tarango said revenues from the casino would provide several valuable resources, including tribal housing, education and healthcare resources for its 853 members.
“When you think about who we are as a people, you really can’t have a community unless you have a land base,and this is the only land we have that’s in trust status for us,” Tarango said. “Today is a beautiful day because it’s almost as if our people are coming home and we have a place to call home. It truly should do what it’s supposed to do – it’s supposed to take us into self-sufficiency and provide us with an economic boost.”