ELK GROVE, Calif. — The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of the Wilton Rancheria tribe in a lawsuit that attempted to stop them from building a casino in Elk Grove.
Sky River Casino, which is to be built where the so-called "Ghost Mall" once stood, faced opposition by Stand Up California, a group interested in gambling issues. They argued that the U.S. Department of the Interior wrongly designated Wilton Rancheria as an indigenous tribe.
The court of appeals disagreed that the department made a mistake in its decision. The interest group also failed to argue that the proposed casino should create an environmental impact statement.
The site where the casino will be built sat unused for more than a decade, while only partially completed after the original developer went bankrupt in 2007. The developer later sold it to the Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) who then sold it to Boyd Gaming.
Boyd Gaming would be developing and operating Sky River Casino on behalf of the Wilton RancheriaTribe.
Sky River Casino could have as many as 2,000 slot machines and more than 80 table games. Boyd Gaming broke ground on March 9 with plans to open in the second half of 2022.
Wilton Rancheria entered into an agreement with Elk Grove and Sacramento County to invest $186 million in the community over 20 years. The tribe claims the casino project would improve housing, education, and healthcare for its more than 800 tribal members. They say it will also ensure its tribal culture would be preserved.