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Viejas Tribe Plans to Build Casino in Southern California

On August 25th, 2007, the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians announced that they are currently planning to construct an $800 million dollars casino / resort facility just 35 miles from San Diego. When completed, it will become the most high class casino / resort destination in the state.

Aside from the casino with 2,500 slot machines, a swimming pool, convention facility, health spa, theater, merchandise shops, restaurants, power plant and two parking areas will be built in the facility.

The Viejas Band Tribe Chairman Bobby Barrett said that this plan by the tribe is a huge undertaking for them. Barrett added that some of their plans for the project may still change. The tribal council of the tribe approved the plan on August 22nd, 2007. It is an important move for the Kumeyaay Tribe that has changed its head and seen the exodus of their business units.

After construction, the new casino/resort facility will make the Viejas Tribe the first one in the state of California to have two casinos adjacent to one another and the second tribe to manage two casinos. The Agua Caliente tribe has casino facilities in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage.

The Viejas casino / resort is as costly as the $1 billion dollars hotel and casino facility that the Gaylord Entertainment has proposed in an uncertain negotiation with Chula Vista. Gaylord's hotel / resort facility will have more rooms compared to the Viejas project and it will not have a casino.

The Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau David Peckinpaugh said that the Gaylord and Viejas will have two different markets. He added that Viejas' main focus is on leisure whereas Gaylord's business oriented facility.

The Interim Chief Executive Officer of Viejas Enterprises, Lyn Baxter said that they are aiming to offer their customers an unforgettable experience while they are staying at the Viejas' Casino / Resort facility. Michael Lombardi, a gaming consultant who has experience in tribal gaming operations, said that there is high market potential for such a type of project in California.

Viejas is also near the freeway and some urban areas. Most casinos in San Diego County are earning $300 dollars per slot machine, according to analysts. There is no timetable for when the Viejas' plan will be completed because there are still some legal problems that the tribe needs to resolve before anything will be finalized.


09/10/2007 03:32 PM


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