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The North Fork Casino & Resort Begins Construction in 2024

May 1, 2024

After a lengthy legal process that has spanned decades, plans to move ahead with the much-anticipated North Fork Mono Casino & Resort are finally federally approved and underway. Initial estimates suggest the grand opening for the casino resort should occur somewhere between 2025 to 2026.

The ambitious project, spearheaded by the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California (NFR), marks a significant milestone for the Tribe. Construction of the proposed $400 million off-reservation casino complex situated on Highway 99 north of Madera, California is expected to begin later this year.

While many are in favor of this ambitious project, due to its value for the local economy and communities, it’s not yet clear how the new project might impact the business of legal online casinos in California and local cardrooms.

A project years in the making

After two decades of careful planning and non-stop negotiations, the North Fork Mono Casino & Resort project is finally moving forward with construction. This part of the plan is expected to start near the tail end of 2024. The project began all the way back in 2003, when the NFR was able to sign an agreement with Station Casinos to oversee the development and management of construction as well as operations once the resort was completed.

In 2011, the project successfully secured federal approval. Unfortunately for project leaders, legal challenges from activist groups and a voter referendum against off-reservation casinos significantly slowed progress on the project for more than a handful of years. After much back and forth, a Supreme Court approval and a final legal hurdle in 2023, it finally seems as though construction can actually begin in earnest.

Even though construction is set for this year, the exact dates and details surrounding the groundbreaking are still something of a mystery. Once construction dates are set in stone, sources claim the project might take around 18 months or so to complete.

A spokesperson from the NFR, Charlie Altekruse, had this to say about the project’s final approval and next steps: “If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last 20 years, it’s that making hard claims about the timing has been fraught with challenges.” “So, we haven’t set a specific time for groundbreaking, but we definitely expect it to happen this year.”

The resort might impact other casino entertainment in California

The arrival of this new resort has the potential to shake up the established gambling norms of the state. Online sweepstakes casinos will likely be only marginally disrupted. Most online gamblers won’t change their gaming habits if they’ve already found one or more legal online casinos in California to enjoy.

The options on offer appear to be compelling enough to retain active player bases. Many offer uniquely generous bonuses and incentives such as the ability to gamble using cryptocurrencies. With such enticing online offerings available, many digital gamblers who enjoy a spot of gambling from the comfort of home are unlikely to make a real effort to change their habits.

The local card rooms in the area might also be affected, but they have more important issues to overcome than the arrival of a casino resort. Senator Josh Newman’s Senate Bill 549 threatens to negatively impact operations by allowing tribal casinos to sue cardrooms based on gaming options.

A look at the features of this much-anticipated casino resort

When the casino resort complex is finished, it will be a sight to behold if an artist’s rendering of the structure many years old can be trusted. Besides its outward-facing appeal, the structure will be a breeze to visit. It will sit in a location that’s conveniently close to both Chowchilla and Madera and will be easily accessible to commuters on Highway 99.

Once the grand opening is over, visitors will be allowed to step inside the staggering 100,000-square-foot structure. The casino floor, estimated to cover around 68,150 square feet, will include over two thousand slot gaming machines, around 40 separate table games and an unnamed number of video poker options. Gamblers will be able to play Pai Gow, three-card poker, blackjack and more.

The casino floor won’t be the only attraction encouraging visitors to stop by. The approved plans also mention that the resort will offer accommodations, ample amounts of parking and several different bars and dining options.

The project promises to bring new growth and job opportunities

Construction workers can expect to find lots to do as construction begins. Plus, to run successfully and stay afloat after completion, the North Fork Mono Casino & Resort will need to hire around a thousand team members. Staff will be needed to manage casino floors, serve food at the resort’s restaurants and run the hotel operations.

These increased job opportunities appear to fall in line with the national job market’s upward trends. All this activity surrounding the newly approved project means that the new casino is bound to become a major employer and provide a welcome boost to the local area’s economy.