Chukchansi casino to reopen Dec. 31

After more than a year of being closed, Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino will reopen at 10 a.m. Dec. 31, the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians tribal council confirmed Monday.

A formal reopening ceremony will take place Jan. 15.

“Since our election, the tribal council has worked every day with our government partners, casino management team and local business partners to get Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino ready to open for our customers,” Tribal Chairwoman Claudia Gonzales said in a release. “We are thankful for the support of our members and believe this is an important first step in bringing prosperity back to our people.”

The casino was closed by state and federal agencies Oct. 10, 2014, when a faction with hired security forces raided the facility a day earlier.

It was given clearance to reopen last week by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill, after the tribe made a settlement with the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Initially, the casino will reopen its doors with more than 56,000 square feet of gaming space, featuring more than 1,700 slot machines and 22 table games, buffet, Vintage Steakhouse, bakery, Deuces Diner, 3 Peaks center bar and Firehouse lounge that will feature live entertainment.

Christian Goode, chief operating officer, said promotions and cash giveaways will be held, and some of the restaurants will be changed. Customers can redeem winnings from before last year’s closure, officials added.

When fully operational in January, the casino will employ more than 1,000 people, around 250 from Eastern Madera County, many who lost their jobs when the gaming house was closed.

“This will really help the economics of Madera County and its businesses to have a great 2016,” District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler said. “It’s a big win.”

The resort will reopen with 220 hotel rooms and suites in the 11-story Picayune Tower. Later in 2016, the Chukchansi Tower will re-open with almost another 200 rooms and suites. Guest rooms include views overlooking the Valley and will have amenities including flat-screen plasma televisions, mini fridges, personal safes, high-speed Internet, and more.

Seven restaurants, including the Noodle Bar and California Market Buffet, will all reopen by mid-January, tribal officials said.