Graton Rancheria Casino Rendering, 2008

Backer Secures Largest Financial Package Reported in Indian Gaming for Tribe's Sonoma County Casino

ICTMN Staff
8/23/12

What is said to be the largest financial package in the history of American Indian gaming has been secured for the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria's planned casino in Sonoma County, California.

The $850 million financing package announced by the Las Vegas-based investor Station Casinos, which will manage the facility for its first seven years, includes a $375 million term loan and a $450 million of senior notes—a combination of bonds and a development loan, reported pressdemocrat.com. Within the package, $25 million worth of revolving credit may be used after the casino opens. The financing, which closed August 22, has a blended cost of approximately 9.6 percent. The financial institutions providing the funding were not identified in the August 14 company press release concerning its financial report for the second quarter ending June 30.

"Chairman [Greg] Sarris played a critical role in obtaining the financing. We believe this is the largest new construction financing in the history of Native American gaming,” Marc Falcone, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Station Casinos, said in a statement.

After nine years of pursuing the casino, the Graton tribe broke ground on the 64-acre site in mid-June. The casino, located adjacent to the city of Rohnert Park, is expected to offer 3,000 slot machines as well as banking card games, and is anticipated to open prior to the end of 2013.

Through the funding of the financing, Station Casinos is expected to receive about $194 million as partial repayment for advances it has made to the Graton Tribe over the last nine years. Afterward, the tribe will continue to owe the company approximately $56 million.

The casino compact was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on March 27, and through Interior inaction, it passed its final bureaucratic hurdle on July 6. Anticipating approval, the tribe broke ground on the casino the month prior and held job fairs and commenced executive recruitment.

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