Governor OKs North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indian casino

FRESNO, Calif.

The governor signed a bill to allow the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians to build a $200 million casino near Avenue 18.

The new 2,000 slot machine casino would be located near the city of Madera. The casino approval didn't happen without controversy.

The tribe had argued its reservation 40 miles away near North Fork is not suitable for such a project.

Critics say the plan sets a bad precedent for off-reservation gaming while the tribe argues it's an economic boom for the area.

Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea said, "I think the concern from the urban centers, like the counties around the state is that other tribes will try to be as creative and come down to urban casinos, but I think that comes with a lot of issues like air pollution, traffic and other things like that, that come with it."

Elaine Bethel Fink with the North Fork Mono Rancheria said, "We're looking at a tremendous amount of jobs. Probably with the construction, vendors, all of the jobs that come with that, we're looking at about 5,000 jobs."

The United States Department of the Interior still needs to give its approval.

There's no word on when construction of the casino might begin.

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