Tribal venture in Sonoma County

California's Koi partners with Oklahoma's Chickasaw for Shiloh Casino project

Rendering for Shiloh Resort & Casino near Windsor in Sonoma County, Northern California.
2022-01-25
United States
Reading time 1:53 min

Southeastern Pomo band Koi Nation, based in Sonoma County, California, is partnering with the Chickasaw Nation for a proposed casino in an unincorporated area near Windsor. The tribe announced last September that it had purchased land for the project, to be located on East Shiloh Road on Windsor’s eastern outskirts.

Under a predevelopment agreement, the Koi Nation would partner with Global Gaming Solutions, a wholly-owned Chickasaw business, reports The Press Democrat. Ada-based Chickasaw Nation is a commercially successful tribe with 23 existing casinos in Oklahoma: the Sonoma County project would allow it to extend beyond its Oklahoma roots.

The planned Shiloh Resort & Casino is set to feature 2,500 Las Vegas-style gaming machines, a 200-room hotel, six restaurants and food service areas, a meeting center and a spa, according to Koi leaders. The Chickasaw nation would manage and operate the facility, expected to employ more than 1,100 full-time workers once fully operational.

According to a data model generated for the Chickasaw Nation, there is demand for a large gambling facility near the Shiloh site. Executive officer for marketing and business development for the tribe Sean Boyd said the area is “nowhere near” a saturation point.

“We’re honored that the Chickasaw Nation would consider moving forward with us on this project,” Koi vice chair and director of development Dino Beltran told The Press Democrat. “When it comes to industry, infrastructure, hospitality and Native American values, we feel we found a great partner moving forward, on those fronts alone.”

Teaming up with an experienced partner such as the Chickasaw, which has expertise in compacts and laws, will allow the Koi nation to more easily sort out tribal gaming and gaming regulations, as well as providing investment. The tribe already manages the Golden Mesa Casino in Guymon, Oklahoma, for the Shawnee Nation.

The Koi purchased a 68-acre property in Shiloh for $12.3 million in September, amid opposition from neighbors. While Koi families have lived in Sonoma County for a few generations, their ancestral homeland is in Clear Lake, 60 miles from the Shiloh resort: this proximity could be viewed as significant by the Department of the Interior.

While entering a partnership with a larger nation is a valid move, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act mandates the local tribe to have at least a 60% financial stake or more. This would have to be respected in the agreement with the Chickasaw nation.

“We are excited by the opportunity to use our expertise to help the Koi Nation realize this project and establish the economic self-sufficiency that is the inherent right of all Native American tribes,” stated Bill Lance, commerce secretary of the Chickasaw Nation. “We look forward to beginning a successful long-term economic partnership with the Koi.”

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