Staff Report

A change in its tribal-state gambling compact will allow the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to add off-track betting at its Santa Ynez casino, pending final approval by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Gov. Jerry Brown initially signed the negotiated amendment to the tribe’s 2015 compact on Aug. 2, authorizing off-track wagering on horse races at a satellite wagering facility within the tribe’s gaming facility, a tribal spokesman said. The Legislature ratified the amendment by approving Assembly Bill 3262 in the state Senate with a 39-0 vote on Aug. 28 and a 64-0 vote in the Assembly on Aug. 29.

“We have no immediate plans to implement OTB, but we are looking at ways we can integrate it into our gaming floor if we choose to offer it as an amenity for guests in the future,” said Tribal Chairman Kenneth Kahn

While testifying to the state Senate Governmental Organization Committee on Aug. 22, Kahn noted the tribe’s desire to be approved for off-track wagering, as other tribes have recently, through a compact amendment.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 requires that tribes sign negotiated compacts, or agreements, in good faith with their state governments to clarify a range of jurisdictional issues surrounding regulation and scope of gaming. Each compact must be negotiated with the governor, ratified by the Legislature, and then approved by the Department of the Interior.  As of November 2016, 74 tribal governments had signed such compacts with the state of California.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians owns and operates the Chumash Casino Resort, the Hotel Corque, Root 246 and Hadsten House in Solvang, Kitá Wines and two gas stations in Santa Ynez.  As the largest employer in the Santa Ynez Valley, the tribe employs more than 2,000 people.