Santa Ynez Reservation of California


The Chumash Casino scheduled a ground-breaking at year's end to expand the gambling facility, but it's only half as large as the 40,000-square-foot project tribal leaders proposed some six weeks ago. It was scaled back to try to appease neighbors concerned about traffic. The tribe will offer free casino shuttles from Santa Barbara, Lompoc and Santa Maria. A five-level parking garage remains in the plans. The tribe is hurrying construction so it can add about 1,120 slot machines, bringing its total to 2,000 - the state allowed maximum - by the May deadline. "We've cut it back quite a bit," said Tribal Chairman Vincent Armenta, adding it will be a squeeze to fit so many machines into a smaller building. He said it was worth it for improved public relations.