A $600 million Hard Rock casino proposed near Mettler in Kern County, California, took a new step toward final approval late Wednesday. The Legislature has now passed a bill ratifying a gaming compact between the state and the Tejon Indian Tribe. Senate Bill 910 cleared the state Senate on a 39-0 vote, having earlier won the Assembly’s support.
The bill now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office for his signature. A required 45-day review by the federal Department of the Interior is then set to launch. The proposal passed on the very final day of the legislative session. It had the backing of Kern’s entire Sacramento delegation, and was supported by the county’s government, which sees it as a boost to the local economy.
“It’s an honor to co-author legislation which will finally give long-deserved recognition to the people of the Tejon tribe,” State Sen. Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, said in a statement retrieved by Bakersfield.com. “SB 910 will ratify a tribal-state compact that will greatly benefit both the Tejon tribe and Kern County with nearly 5,000 jobs, live entertainment and convention spaces that will bring exciting growth to the area.”
The Tejon Tribe is partnering with Hard Rock International –a brand of the Florida-based Seminole Tribe– on the development. According to previously shared plans for the venue, the 166,500-square-foot casino will have an 11-story hotel, 3,000 slot machines, and an annual payroll estimated at $59 million.
It would also have 400 hotel rooms, a number of restaurants, an entertainment venue and a convention center. The state constitution prohibits games that use dice or balls, meaning Craps and Roulette will not be allowed. Thus, in addition to the selection of slots, guests will also have to make do with Poker, Blackjack and Asian table games, according to Hard Rock.
The Tejon casino will be located just off Interstate 5, at Highway 166. It would be part of a 320-acre complex that would also include housing, a healthcare facility, and administrative space for the 1,200-member tribe, further reports the cited source. While the venue will be managed and operated by a group led by Hard Rock International, the resort, parking, and all related structures will “at all times” be owned by the Tejon Tribe.
According to Hard Rock International, the proposed Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon “will bolster Kern County’s growing economy and provide numerous benefits to the region.” The gaming giant claims it will increase tourism, create about 5,000 jobs, increase investment in the local economy, and provide resources and services for Tejon Indian Tribe members. It will also “build privately funded infrastructure improvements at no cost to taxpayers.”
“Both Hard Rock International and the Tejon Tribe leadership are working diligently to start construction. While we do not have a definitive date, we are working steadfastly to get the project open,” a statement from Hard Rock reads. “It will take at least 20 months from the groundbreaking to the grand opening.”