arrah’s Northern California Casino south of Ione, in the Amador County foothills, had its soft opening and thousands showed up, more than the casino could allow in safely. “We have a lot of guests who frequent from the Bay Area, sac, Lake Tahoe and Reno and we wanted to capitalize on that mid-week,” said the casino’s Senior Vice President and General Manager JC Rieger, as reported by CBS Sacramento.
Guests including VIP Joanne Martin lined up early to get the first glimpse at the new Casino. She has visited many of Harrah’s locations nationwide. “You get points. Once they get a hotel built. You get free rooms then food and other offers,” said Martin.
The attendance forced the casino and the California Highway Patrol to turn away hundreds. When cars reached the turn to Coal Mine Road, where the casino is located, CHP officers didn’t let drivers through, according to Fox40.
The casino says it was expecting a large turnout. "That’s why we partnered with CHP to kind of help us with traffic control and everything like that," Rieger said.
The casino has more than 950 new slot machines and 20 new table games in the 71,000 square foot venue. It offers more than 900 parking spots and shortly after the soft opening happened at 4:30 Monday afternoon, all of them filled up. The restaurant, Louie Oliver, will be open with a full-service menu starting Tuesday at 11 a.m.
"We wouldn’t expect it to always be like this. Our operation levels will level out," Rieger said. Monday was just a soft opening, while the grand opening weekend will be May 17 through 19.
The casino says it’s creating more than 400 full-time jobs, plus other 100 employees. Even before opening, it brought in $20 million to the community and plans to bring in $8 million per year now that it’s operating. The casino is betting on the scenic location to draw crowds to their location in the foothills on the reservation land of the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indian Tribe.