A U.S. District Court judge on Tuesday gave the OK for Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino to reopen after government agencies shut down the Coarsegold facility over a year ago due to tribal conflicts.
Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill’s ruling, which lifts the previous closure order, means the casino could be back in operation as soon as next month.
Tuesday’s ruling affirms the National Indian Gaming Commission’s decision Monday to clear the way for the casino’s reopening.
The state and federal governments shut down the casino in October 2014 after a dispute between tribal factions erupted during a gaming office raid. The raid resulted in violent encounters, leading to the evacuation of patrons and employees. The last of 15 felony cases resulting from that raid was settled earlier this month.
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Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino employed about 1,000 people when it was open – about 80 percent of them from Madera County, said Tom Wheeler, the Madera County supervisor representing the Coarsegold area.
“It’s kind of a Christmas present for Madera County, the community and tribal members,” he said. “Now, many of the tribal members will have jobs, money for education, housing and for their elders. It’s a win-win.”