ELK GROVE, Calif. — Update: The casino opened on August 16th.
The Sky River Casino in Elk Grove will be a massive 100,000 square foot addition to the city that'll bring along 1,500 jobs. It's a project more than decade in the making that'll finally be a reality in September.
"This has been a dream of the Wilton Rancheria people for a very long time, and they are very excited to deliver this to Sacramento County," said Chris Gibase, president and chief operating officer of Sky River Casino.
The September opening is coming nearly a month and a half earlier than originally expected. Gibase said its the result of a lot of planning that helped them avoid supply chain issues and some luck.
Sky River Casino has been under construction since it broke ground near Highway 99 in early 2021. It will have 2,000 slot machines, 80 table games and 12 different venues for food and drink. It'll be located at 1 Sky River Parkway.
Here's what to know about the casino before it opens.
Sky River Casino's name
Some people might remember the casino project in Elk Grove as the Wilton Rancheria Resort & Casino as opposed to Sky River Casino. The two names are one and the same.
Wilton Rancheria Resort & Casino was placeholder name while an official one was in the works. The updated name is Sky River Casino, a name that Gibase said pays tribute to the Wilton Rancheria community and to the area itself.
"Wilton Rancheria is the only tribe that's from Sacramento County. Their history is obviously a long history and (has) a lot to do with the Cosumnes River and the area around here about nature. So Sky River was what we ended up choosing..." Gibase said.
Things to do at Sky River Casino
Sky River Casino will have 2,000 slot machines and 80 table games, but it's not all about gambling. There will also be 12 different venues for food and drink.
"It's not just slot machines and table games here. A lot of this is all about the foodies," Gibase said.
Sky River Casino will have a marketplace for those foodies to get lost in. It's something Gibase said is far more than a food court.
"If you like wines and you like craft beers and you like great food, this is a place you're going to want to come because that's in the forefront of the entire environment," he said.
"It is definitely not a fast food (place). This is restaurant food, 12 different ways," he added.
The Traffic Impacts
This is a massive project with the potential to draw a lot of people into the area. It's a detail that wasn't lost on the casino or the city of Elk Grove.
Gibase said they're currently working on plans to keep a smooth flow of traffic in and out of the area for the casino and for the nearby community.
"We have houses that are around us, and we want to make sure that... they don't get impacted by this dramatically...," he said.
Kristyn Laurence, spokesperson for the City of Elk Grove, said most of traffic to the casino is expected to come from Highway 99, and that the nearest exit, Kammerer Road, was already made to accommodate traffic from the former mall plan in the area, known locally as the ghost mall.
"Staff is working with the casino to make minor signal timing adjustments and striping improvements to address slight changes to the traffic patterns associated with the casino compared to a mall," Laurence said.
Plans for grand opening traffic impacts are being developed.
"Once the casino opens, the City’s Traffic Engineering and Police Department staff will monitor traffic and make additional changes as needed," Laurence said.
The Economic Impacts
Estimates on the economic impact of the casino were not available when ABC10 reached out to the City of Elk Grove, however, Gibase said the impacts are likely to be far reaching.
"We're going to have about 2,000 people that work here between full-time team members and part-time team members. They obviously then go out to the community, but we're buying local produce, we're buying local wines, we're buying local local beers," he said.
He added that the goal is to source 75% to 80% of their product within 150 miles of the casino.
"Sacramento's got a rich history of farm to fork. That's what we're doing here," Gibase said.
While the opening was moved up, the official opening date has not been released. Gibase said there'll be plans for the big day, but most of those details will come in time.
More information on the casino and jobs can be found on their website HERE.