Viejas tribe plans USD 800-million casino-resort near San Diego

Alpine, California (AP) – The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians said it plans to build an USD 800 million casino-hotel resort just east of its existing 2,500-slot casino and outlet mall.

The new resort 35 miles from downtown San Diego would feature 2,500 slots, a 600-room hotel, a pool, a spa, shops, restaurants, a conference center, a multiplex movie theater, two parking structures and a new power plant.

The tribe, which unveiled its plan Thursday, hopes to complete construction in five years.

The plans are subject to a review of environmental impacts and an approval by San Diego County supervisors, said John Snyder, the county’s public works director.

Viejas Chairman Bobby Barrett acknowledged the tribe will have to address how the expansion would affect traffic, water and other issues.

“We will be sitting down with our neighbors,“ he said.

Viejas opened its gambling hall in 1990 as a 10,000-square-foot card room in 1990 and expanded three times. A 1999 compact allowed Viejas and other tribes to operate two casinos each, but capped slots at a total of 2,000 per tribe. In 2004, the tribe signed a new deal with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger allowing it as many slot machines as it wants.