When California voters approved Las Vegas-style gambling in 1998, proponents said it would be limited to places already recognized as Indian lands.
But a rare ruling from the Obama administration and a deal approved by Gov. Jerry Brown would allow one tribe to build a casino on a 300-acre property once slated to be a NASCAR racetrack in the Central Valley town of Madera. The prospect has divided Indian tribes and touched off an intense fight in the Capitol.
Members of the tribe, the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, have not lived on the Madera land for generations. But if the group is successful, it could help reshape the future of tribal gambling in California, opening the way for new casinos up and down the state — and closer to urban centers — according to critics of the gambling industry and other opponents of the deal.
LA TIMES on North Fork Casino Plans