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Monday, December 21, 2015
NIGC Enters Agreement with the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians to Reopen Casino
The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has entered into a settlement agreement with Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians (Tribe) located in Coursegold, California. In October, 2014, the Chairman issued a notice of violation and temporary closure order for all gaming activity at the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino because the Tribe was operating the gaming facility in a manner that threatened public health and safety. The Chairman had also issued notices of violation and a temporary closure order because the Tribe had failed to submit annual independent audits, financial statements, and agreed-upon procedure reports for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. The settlement agreement resolves these issues and seeks to ensure the on-going health and safety of the gaming operation and its employees and patrons.
The settlement agreement allows the Tribe to reopen its gaming facility under certain conditions. A significant condition of the settlement agreement is that the Tribe agrees to pay a fine in the amount of $19,845,000, a portion of which will be suspended as long as the Tribe adheres to the settlement agreement. The agreement further details both pre-opening conditions and post-opening conditions the Tribe must meet to ensure the safety and health of patrons and employees and compliance with NIGC audit regulations, including a requirement for the NIGC to conduct a full Internal Control Assessment within nine months of the opening date.
The Agreement specifies that if anything occurs to threaten the health and safety of the facility or its patrons and employees, the closure orders will be immediately reinstated and the suspended fine amount will be due. Furthermore, if deadlines or terms of the agreement are not met by the Tribe, the settlement agreement provides that the Tribe must cease and desist all gaming activity. NIGC will continue to monitor the Tribe’s gaming activity and enforce the settlement agreement, as well as investigate and enforce against any new or reoccurring threat to health and safety, or violations of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, NIGC’s regulations and the Tribe’s Gaming Ordinance.