A summer debut is on schedule for the Hollywood Casino Jamul on the Jamul Indian Village in California near San Diego, thanks to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling against opponents and in favor of the National Indian Gaming Commission's (NIGC) approval of the tribal gaming ordinance.
The three-judge panel unanimously agreed the NIGC was not required to complete an environmental impact statement — a process that could take years to resolve under the National Environmental Policy Act — before approving the gaming ordinance, because there is only a 90-day window for ordinance approval. Insisting upon an EIS would create an "irreconcilable conflict" with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the court determined.
"There is no question that it would be impossible for NIGC to prepare an EIS in the ninety days it has to approve a gaming ordinance,” Jamul Action Committee v. Jonodev Chaudhuri (Chairman of the NIGC) Judge Morgan Christen wrote in the 16-page decision, reported WorldCasinoDirectory.com.
The tribe and its operating partner Penn National Gaming were not idenitified in the lawsuit filed by a local opposition group. The NIGC's decision on a Gaming Management Agreement (GMA) for the casino still pends. The Jamul Indian Village would not need a gaming management contract if it ran the casino itself. If the commission has yet to approve the contract by the planned opening date, the NIGC has said the tribe can still open and run the facility itself in the interim.
The tribe has completed a comprehensive and rigorous environmental review as required by its 1999 Gaming Compact with the State of California. "We have made significant changes to the design of the facility to incorporate local community input, including significantly reducing its height and footprint," the tribe's website states.
The three-story Hollywood Casino Jamul will span 200,000 square feet, featuring over 1,700 slot machines, 50 live table games, multiple restaurants, bars and lounges and an enclosed below grade parking structure with approximately 1,800 spaces. Construction and operations will create some 2,500 total jobs in the area. The gaming and entertainment facility are being designed with an earth tone color palette and downcast lighting to integrate with and complement the surrounding area.