Lake County's Running Creek Casino on schedule to open in May

The tent-like shell of a new Lake County casino has risen along Highway 20, just east of Upper Lake.

"It's on schedule," said Sherry Treppa, chairwoman of the Habematolel Pomo tribe of Upper Lake, owner of the casino.

Treppa expects the casino to open at the end of May, in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

The tribe is now hiring to fill 145 casino employee positions.

It will be the county's fourth casino. It's located just a few miles west of the Robinson Rancheria casino, also on Highway 20. The tribes say the proximity will be good for both businesses.

The new, 33,000-square-foot casino — Running Creek — will include 349 slot machines, six table games, a players' club, dining area and gift shop.

The casino is expected to gross about $20 million a year, enough to make it work for the tribe and its financial backers, Michigan-based Luna Entertainment, Treppa has said.

The tribe will spend nearly $30 million on construction, interest payments, land purchase and the legal and legislative process of getting the land into trust, she said.

The path to creating a casino has been a long one for the 216-member tribe, which regained federal recognition 21 years ago.

In 2001, the tribe attempted to purchase land for a $200 million casino project in West Sacramento but became mired in controversy and ultimately lost its bid for federal approval.

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