As many as 6,000 people at a time are expected to be inside the new Graton Resort & Casino on Nov. 5, it's opening day.


Rohnert Park casino set to open Nov. 5

The $800 million Graton Resort & Casino will open for business on Nov. 5, casino officials said Thursday.

"What I'm going to do is open the doors and let people stream in," said casino vice-president and general manager Joe Hasson.

"Some fanfare" will accompany the opening, he said, but the nature of it is undecided and there are no plans for celebrity entertainment that day, a Tuesday.

What will be the Bay Area's largest casino is owned by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and operated by Las Vegas-based Station Casinos.

The single-level gambling palace, located on 66 acres of the Graton Rancheria's reservation just outside Rohnert Park, will have 3,000 slot and video poker machines, 144 table games and a large, high stakes poker room.

It also will have four restaurants, a food court with nine vendors, including four developed by Sonoma County restaurateurs, and an 8,700-square-foot special-events center.

The casino's proximity to a major metropolitan area — it is the closest to San Francisco — and its location in tourist-rich Sonoma County, make it a prime property, said Hasson, a 30-year industry veteran who has managed gambling enterprises from Mississippi to Nevada.

"I've never had the pleasure of a grand opening that is as exciting as this one," he said Thursday.

Hasson said he expects as many as 6,000 customers to be in the casino at any one time throughout the opening day to gamble, eat and generally take in the new venue. Many will be brought in by bus and limousine from around the Bay Area and beyond.

"I think you'll see every kind of transportation at our door on opening day," he said.

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