Feds Clear Way For Hard Rock Tejon Casino

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on November 22, 2022
hotel hard rock tejon rv park

The Tejon Indian Tribe has received final approval to begin construction its Hard Rock Tejon casino project located in Mettler, California, which is about half an hour south of Bakersfield.

The Tribe has been looking to break ground in Kern County, California, for more than 10 years and can now finally move forward. To accomplish the project, the Tribe partnered with Hard Rock International.

The project centerpiece, a $600 million resort hotel, is expected to offer between 2,000 and 3,000 permanent jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in local economic benefits annually.

More specifically, county spokeswoman Ally Soper noted the project would generate:

  • 1,000 construction jobs
  • around $60 million in annual payroll
  • an estimated $361 million annually in indirect and induced sales and compensation.

Soper wrote in an email statement:

“Soon, construction will begin on our region’s very own Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, with Kern County now joining an elite circle of cities that provide this tourism hub to their community and visitors.”

Hard Rock Tejon land now in trust for Tribe

On Nov. 17, the US Department of the Interior (DOI) agreed to take 320 acres of Native American-owned land into the federal trust.

The federal distinction is required to allow California to enter a Class III gaming compact with the Tribe to allow Hard Rock International to host slot machines and table games.

Tribe Chairman Octavio Escobedo III said via press release:

“The Tejon Tribe now has a homeland where its citizens can work and live together and collectively ensure a safe and economic environment for all.”

There was no word Friday on when construction would begin as the Tribe awaits to take formal possession of the property.

Still, Thursday’s approval came as good news after a lengthy review process involving Gov. Gavin Newsom, the state legislature and Sen. Melissa Hurtado, who represents constituents in Kern County.

$600 million casino with federal backing on the project

Groundbreaking on Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon will likely start next summer, with construction expected to be finished within a few years.

If everything goes according to plan, the 11-story, 400-room hotel will feature:

  • 165,500-square-foot casino with 3,000 slots
  • 13 restaurants
  • an entertainment venue
  • a spa-fitness center
  • convention space

The project would also include a 22-acre RV park, tribal administrative offices, a healthcare facility and tribal housing.

As per an agreement settled in 2019, the Tribe will pay the county government $218 million over 20 years to provide fire, law enforcement and other services.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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