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Karuk tribal casino moving forward

YREKA — The Karuk Tribe’s compact with the state of California was ratified Thursday, putting the tribe one step closer to its goal of building a casino in Yreka.

The tribe revealed its initial plans of building the casino last November. Through its compact with the state, the tribe is allowed to place up to 1,500 gaming machines in its casino, which is a planned two-phase project. The first would create a gaming area and restaurant, while a second phase would add more space for gaming machines, a second restaurant and a hotel.

On Thursday, the California State Senate took on the issue of whether it would approve Senate Bill 1224, which ratifies the compact with the state. The bill’s author, Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, introduced the bill for its third reading by giving a brief history of the compact.

The Karuk Tribe is the second-largest tribe in California and is located in “one of the most economically depressed areas in the state,” said Correa, adding that a required agreement between the city of Yreka and the tribe has been completed.

The agreement is expected to be formally accepted by the tribe this week and the city next week, but the tribe also must come to an agreement with Siskiyou County over the casino compact.

Since the city of Yreka removed its opposition to SB 1224, “there is no known opposition,” Correa claimed.

The bill passed 28-4. Sen. Ted Gaines, who represents Siskiyou County’s district, cast one of the no votes. In November, Siskiyou voters will have an opportunity to express their feelings about the casino on an advisory ballot measure.