Preparations underway to reopen Chukchansi Resort & Casino

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Employees are excited to come back after more than a year. (KFSN)

Preparations are underway to reopen the Chukchansi Resort & Casino in time for New Years eve.

The Indian casino has been shut down for more than a year due to a dispute over the leadership. The signs welcoming customers back are going up outside while inside cleaning crews are getting ready to reopen.

Christian Goode is in charge and says the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino will be back and better than ever. "Our slogan is 'it's a new day for the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino,'" Goode said. "And it's a new year so it's an exciting time to be here."

The plan is for a soft opening on New Years eve, the gaming machines are ready, not all of the restaurants will be open, and the hotel will be open. A full grand opening is set for January 15.

It's welcome news to the more than 1,000 employees who were put out of work by the shutdown. "We feel like we are home," employee Rachel Reid said. "Everyone is all hugs and we are so excited to see each other again."

The legal issues with the federal government, the state and Madera County have been worked out, and the reopening comes as many, but not all of the conflicts within the Chukchansi tribe have been settled.

The new tribal chairperson, Claudia Gonzales, believes things are stable enough to move forward. "You are always going to have those who are unhappy," Gonzales said. "So, on a positive note, I look forward to a brighter future for all of us."

The agreement with Madera County means a sheriff's deputy will be stationed at the casino round the clock.
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