Religious Group Comes Out in Support of Wilton Rancheria's Proposed Elk Grove Casino

A prominent Sacramento-area religious group offered its endorsement of the Wilton Rancheria's proposed Elk Grove casino. United ...

A prominent Sacramento-area religious group offered its endorsement of the Wilton Rancheria's proposed Elk Grove casino.

United Pastors of Sacramento, the region’s largest association of multi-denominational, multi-ethnic pastors, has announced its support of the $400 million project proposed on the site of the unfinished Outlet Collection at Elk Grove.

In their letter to Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond C. Hitchcock, United Pastors Chairman and President Dr. Anthony Wallace pointed to the economic benefits generated from the operation. Wallace said "The Wilton Rancheria casino and resort will greatly benefit the community by bringing new jobs that our parishioners desperately need" and that the Pastors "recognize and appreciate the benefits the project will have for the long-term health and welfare of your tribe.”

The endorsement is a milestone for the tribe as religious groups typically are among the groups that oppose the establishment of casinos. The group called Protect Elk Grove, which opposes the casino, did not return an email request or a telephone call seeking comment. 

Joshua Wood, Executive Director of the Sacramento-based advocacy group Region Business, said the endorsement validates support in the community for the project which is expected to hundreds of construction of jobs and 2,000 positions once the casino opens.  

"This is further proof that the support for the Wilton Rancheria Casino and Resort project is broad-based and enthusiastic," Wood said. 

Wilton Rancheria has filed an application to have a 36-acre parcel along Highway 99 in Elk Grove taken into trust by the United States for the benefit of the Tribe. The Howard Hughes Corporation, which owns the property along Highway 99, has entered into an option agreement for the sale of land to Wilton Rancheria.  

The Bureau of Indian Affairs must prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the land to be held in trust for the Tribe by the federal government. After the land held is placed in trust, a compact between the sovereign government of Wilton Rancheria and the State of California would be required before any gaming operations could commence.

“United Pastors of Sacramento is a vital part of the greater community, and we are extremely gratified to have its strong support," Hitchcock. "We are committed to working with them to build a project that will create the greatest possible benefits for the economy, the community, and our Tribe.”

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