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Graton casino eyes half-billion annual revenue

  • A security guard walks in front of the east entrance of the Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park on Tuesday, October 29, 2013. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

A copy of it became public in August 2012 when Station Casinos submitted it to Rohnert Park as part of its unsuccessful bid to build and operate a new city-owned digital advertising sign on Highway 101.

The report analyzes potential customers by their distance from the casino, their income, their likelihood of visiting it, their likelihood of visiting more than once, and the amount of money each is expected to leave behind per visit.

In the casino's second full year of operations, the report says, Sonoma County residents will visit it 1.5 million times, generating $103 million in gambling revenues, nearly a fifth of the expected total annual income.

Graton Resort & Casino

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Much of the overall revenues are expected to come from Oakland, San Francisco and Marin County, says the report. It is projected that residents from those areas will visit the casino 2.7 million times during its second year, generating $248 million in gambling revenues.

The $800 million casino will get 195,000 visitors from the Sacramento area, the report says; 930,000 visits from residents of the East Bay outside Oakland; and smaller numbers from the Stockton and Yuba City areas. San Jose is projected to generate 361,000 casino visits and $41 million in revenue.

By its fifth year, the casino will bring in $576 million in gambling revenue, the report projects, although at least one expert believes the projections are on the high side.

The report focuses solely on gambling and does not address ancillary revenues, such as those from food or alcohol sales, entertainment events, or from a hotel planned for the site.

The report says the Rohnert Park casino will capture the overwhelming share of local casino patrons: 89 percent of the projected 1.68 million visits to all casinos by Sonoma County residents in its second full year.

That scenario runs dramatically counter to predictions by Graton Rancheria Chairman Greg Sarris and several other analysts who have said that there is plenty for everyone to share. Officials with the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo, which owns River Rock Casino in Geyserville, have said they fear losses of 30 percent of revenue.

The Graton casino's projected income of more than half a billion dollars would rank it high among the country's most lucrative gambling markets.


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