The Koi Nation announced plans to build a $600m resort on 68 acres in Windsor, California in September. The tribe recently acquired the land for $12.3m.
“The Shiloh Resort and Casino is going to offer a different experience to customers, from the design of the facility to its integration with the natural environment, from an entirely non-smoking campus to the combination of dining, entertainment, gaming, and proximity to the Sonoma County wine country,” said Darin Beltran, chair of Koi Nation. “That’s a combination we believe would be appealing to a very wide range of customers, including first-time casino customers looking for a unique experience in a unique location as well as people who enjoy gaming and are looking for a different experience.”
However, the project has met with resistance from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, who operate the Graton Resort and Casino 15 miles away in Rohnert Park.
“The Koi Nation’s attempt to push through a proposal to jump into other tribes’ territory is wrong. Moreover, this is not the Koi Nation’s first attempt at reservation shopping,” Greg Sarris, chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. “The consensus among ethnohistorians is that the Koi Nation’s ancestral roots are in the Lower Lake area of Lake County. This attempt by the Koi Nation to manufacture a connection to Sonoma County is an affront to Sonoma County tribes such as our own, who have an extensively documented presence here.”
The Koi Nation intends to build a 200-room hotel, the same number of rooms Graton has. Nevertheless, commentators suggests the new venue may not cannibalise existing gaming operations in the area.
“I don’t think [oversaturation] will be an issue in the least. You have so much population up there,” said Anthony Lucas, a professor of casino management at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.