Tribe receives favorable ruling on Class III gaming in California

California Tribes
Image: Chicken Ranch Rancheria Me-Wuk Indians

The Chicken Ranch Rancheria Me-Wuk Indians of California is one of five tribes in the state to be issued secretarial procedures for Class III gaming on tribal land.

The Department of the Interior in January approved procedures for the Chicken Ranch Rancheria Mewuk Indians and four other federally recognized tribes in the Sunshine State following a lawsuit. The lawsuit, brought on by the Chicken Ranch Rancheria Mewuk Indians in 2022, accused the State of California of violating the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act by not acting in good faith during negotiations for gaming compacts.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of the tribes. The ruling reaffirms boundaries between state, federal, and tribal jurisdictions as tribes remain sovereign governments with authority over their lands and Class III gaming at their casinos.

“We fought the state through five years of compact negotiations, five years of litigation, and won independence from state regulation,” said Lloyd Mathiesen, chairman of the Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians.

Other tribes impacted by the decision include Blue Lake Rancheria, the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe of the Chemehuevi Reservation, the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, and Robinson Rancheria.

New ventures for the California tribe

The Chicken Ranch Rancheria Me-Wuk Indians are taking advantage of their tribal sovereignty with a mobile app that integrates real-world sports into Class III gaming.

The tribe partnered with Vetnos to launch the app, which is available to customers while they are at Chicken Ranch Casino. The app allows users to select players to compete in statistical head-to-head match-ups with betting limits that range between $1-$20.

The Chicken Ranch Rancheria Me-Wuk Indians, which operate Chicken Ranch Casino in Jamestown, California, will be opening a remolded facility later this summer that includes a resort. The development features 190 hotel rooms, a rooftop pool, and a convention center.