Compact covers debt, impacts, other tribes

Under the terms of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria's 20-year gaming compact, millions of dollars a year would flow not only to the tribe, but to local governments, other Indian tribes and the Las Vegas company that is to manage the casino.

The compact — the 69th in California since 2000 — is a negotiated contract between the state and the tribe allowing it to run a Nevada-style gaming operation.

The annual payment formulas set out in it are designed to:

Ensure the tribe meets its negotiated financial obligations to address the casino's impacts on areas including the environment, traffic and public safety;

Assist Indian tribes that do not have their own gambling operations;

Fund future grants to local governments and agencies that can demonstrate the casino is impacting them.

But the tribe's interests are foremost in the compact, officials said.

"The tribe should be the primary beneficiary of the gaming operation," said Jacob Applesmith, a senior adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown who negotiated sections of the compact.

While the compact requires the Graton Rancheria to pay 15 percent of its net gaming income to Sonoma County and Rohnert Park, it waives that requirement for the seven years after the casino opens. During that period, the tribe first takes money for itself and to pay down the more than $200 million it has rung up in "pre-development costs."

That would cut into how much the county and Rohnert Park would get initially -- although they would still get about a combined $100 million over seven years if the tribe's revenue projections hold up. The formula also promises a major bump in payments after that.

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