Win-River Casino Expansion: One Step Closer

Proposed casino-resort. Image by HBG Design.

Redding Rancheria is one step closer to a long-held dream of changing the tax status of 232 acres it owns along Interstate 5, just south of Redding’s city limits, into federal trust or non-taxable status for gaming purposes.

We are gaining traction in establishing our restored lands into trust for our eventual casino relocation and expansion project,” said Tracy Edwards, Chief Executive Officer for Redding Rancheria.

Tracy Edwards, Redding Rancheria Chief Executive Officer.

At this point, it is a waiting game until the Department of the Interior issues a positive Record of Decision to take our I-5 property into trust for gaming purposes,” Edwards noted.

We are hopeful this whole process wraps up this year,” she added.

The legal process is a long and complicated one for several reasons, not the least of which are regulations and rules that seem to change with every new presidential administration, she added.

Then, add in various objections raised by neighboring property owners, politicians and competing Indian casinos in nearby counties already operating along I-5.

Redding Rancheria filed its original application in 2010 seeking to have the Barack Obama administration restore the Rancheria’s I-5 property into trust status, thus allowing tribal officials to continue promoting projects of self-sufficiency, self-determination and economic development, according to Edwards during her State of the Tribe report for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Starting in 2016, the Donald Trump administration placed on pause most such considerations.

Many fee to trust applications were re-opened or unpaused when Joe Biden took office in 2020.

The fee to trust transfer of the 1-5 frontage property, if accepted by the US Department of Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, will allow Redding Rancheria to develop our property for gaming purposes including a casino, resort hotel, conference center, special event venues and supporting infrastructure such as a large parking structure, several restaurants, bars, lounges and other resort amenities,” Edwards’ speech continued.

At least seven development options are listed in Redding Rancheria’s fee to trust application, ranging from complex to doing nothing at all with the property. Somewhere in the middle of this range is likely where things will eventually settle out, Edwards explained during an hour-long meeting with A News Cafe in her tribal administration office.

Edwards estimated the total construction project will cost somewhere between $150 million and $400 million, depending upon the rate of inflation in building materials, fluctuating interest rates needed to finance construction and the overall health of Shasta County’s economy.

The entire casino and resort hotel complex is being designed by HBG Design of Memphis, Tenn. The firm is currently helping the Karuk Tribe with a nearly 79,000 square foot expansion project at the Rain Rock Hotel and Casino in Yreka.

Brief History

The Sacramento River frontage property was once part of a larger tract of aboriginal hunting, fishing and tribal living areas originally promised to Redding Rancheria in a federal treaty signed in mid-August of 1851. However, the treaty authorized by then-President Millard Fillmore was never ratified by the US Senate, tribal records state.

In 2004, Redding Rancheria began a series of land purchases along the Sacramento River, eventually acquiring seven contiguous parcels just west of the north-south freeway. This sparked the tribe’s dream of someday establishing a casino along the interstate.

The statutory authority for acquiring lands in trust status for Indian tribes is provided in the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, states an introductory section of a 609-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement filed with the US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Pacific Region Office in Sacramento.

Public Law 106 – 462, enacted by the 106th Congress and known collectively as The Indian Land Consolidation Act Amendments of 2000, Congress found, in part:

(1) in the 1800s and early 1900s, the United States sought to assimilate Indian people into the surrounding non-Indian culture by allotting tribal lands to individual members of Indian tribes;

(2) as a result of the allotment acts and related federal policies, more than 90 million acres were removed from tribal ownership;

(3) many trust allotments were taken out of trust status, often without the owner’s consent;

(4) without restrictions, allotment owners were subject to exploitation and their allotments were often sold or disposed of without any tangible or enduring benefit;

(5) the trust periods for trust allotments were extended indefinitely;

(6) inheritance provisions in the original treaties or allotment acts caused ownership of many trust allotments remaining in trust status to fraction into hundreds or thousands of undivided interests representing two percent or less of the total.”

Eventually, as remediation, Congress extended the Indian Reorganization Act’s authority on land acquisitions to all tribes.

As a result of California’s Rancheria Act and subsequent termination of Redding Rancheria’s federally recognized status in 1958, much of the original Rancheria land was distributed to individual members.

In 1979, members of Redding Rancheria joined a class action lawsuit to restore the tribe’s federally recognized status as well as the trust or non-taxable status of the original Rancheria. Several years later, a settlement was achieved and the tribe was restored to federal recognition on June 11, 1984.

Through reacquisition, Redding Rancheria started purchasing land parcels within the original Rancheria boundaries. Today, the tribe owns 11 parcels comprising 14.8 acres or 48 percent of the original Rancheria. Of those nearly 15 acres, 6.9 acres are fully developed and occupied by the tribe’s Win-River Casino while 6.34 acres are fully developed and occupied by the Tribal Administration offices. Another 1.06 acres are developed and occupied by the Rancheria’s Head Start preschool, while the remaining half acre is designated as historic burial ground.

Thus, the Redding Rancheria is maxed out on use of its property along State Route 273 at Clear Creek. The only way to grow the gaming operation historically fueling the tribe’s economic growth, diversification into health care and success in other business endeavors is to relocate and expand at a location closer to Interstate 5, Redding Rancheria states in its fee-to-trust application.

Expansion Options

Prompted by President Biden’s appointment of Deb Haaland of New Mexico as Secretary of the Interior, Haaland subsequently resumed the federal process to consider moving Win-River Resort and Casino, operating since 1993 from its current location, to tribal property approximately two miles distant along Interstate 5.

Image by HBG Design.

Redding Rancheria quickly resumed its application process, Edwards said.



Proposed Alt. B

Gaming area

32,658 sq ft

69,541 sq ft

Slot machines



Table Games



Poker Room

1,552 sq ft





335 seats

656 seats


5,502 sq ft

30,565 sq ft


80 rooms

225 rooms


56,735 sq ft

171,287 sq ft


3 stories

9 stories

Luxury suites

4 suites

25 suites

Resort Amenities



990 sq ft

Swimming Pool

5,012 sq ft

6,080 sq ft



Gift Shop


1,000 sq ft

Urban Retreat: A Day Spa

3,929 sq ft.

5,500 sq ft

RV Park
Golf Course

River Tasalmi

River Tasalmi

Surface Parking

380 vehicles

600 vehicles

Enclosed Parking


1,650 vehicles

Conference Center


10,080 sq ft

Event Center

9,826 sq ft

52,200 sq ft

Divisible Ballroom

4,800 sq ft




Preferred Options

Responding to public opinions expressed during the environmental review process, Redding Rancheria officials preferred Option B, without a retail shopping center and without an outdoor entertainment venue.

The proposed casino-resort would have a gross footprint of approximately 383,893 square feet. The gaming area would house 1,200 electronic gaming devices, 36 table games and several high stakes poker tables.

The main gaming area would include beverage and food service bars as well as a players club.

Restaurant facilities proposed include a 225-seat buffet, a 24-hour bakery/deli, a sports bar and grill, a food court and several smaller specialty restaurants.

A nine-story hotel approximately 119 feet tall located in the northwest portion of the developed property offers 225 standard guest rooms and 25 luxury suites. The hotel resort also includes an outdoor pool, winter garden, outdoor amphitheater, spa and fitness center.

Image by HBG Design.

Image by HBG Design.

An event center located in the southwest portion of the development includes a pre-function area, bar, box office, stage, green room, banquet kitchen and storage area within a 52,200-square foot facility.

The event center and adjacent conference center will be used an average of 256 days per year, the tribe estimates.

One multi-level parking structure will be located in the southeast portion of the developed property providing 1,650 covered parking spaces. Additionally, 600 surface parking spaces will be available for a total capacity of 2,250 vehicles.

Mitigation Measures

Not everyone is pleased with the casino relocation and expansion project on land that for more than 40 years was used exclusively for agriculture, thus providing a natural buffer between Redding and Anderson along the Sacramento River. Many still refer to the tribal property as Strawberry Fields, denoting its use many years ago as a truck farm growing strawberries. More recently and for the past 20 years, a few members of Redding Rancheria leased the property for grazing cows.

Matt Fleming, representing the 600 members of Speak Up Shasta, said his organization collected and filed more than 400 letters in opposition. On Dec. 19, 2022, A News Cafe published a four-page Opinion Piece submitted by Speak Up Shasta as a Letter to the Editor.

We find this expansion unnecessary. Placing the land into trust status will mean less funding for fire, police and other services,” Fleming noted at a recent Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Mary Occasion, representing 200 mostly rural families living in the Churn Creek Bottom area of unincorporated Shasta County, urged county supervisors to keep the Strawberry Fields property zoned as agricultural land and claimed the casino, resort hotel and surrounding parking would contribute “sound and light pollution.”

Even US Senator Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco weighed in with a letter of opposition to the Department of the Interior suggesting Redding Rancheria’s fee-to-trust application be required to go through a two-step approval process complete with public hearings, a suggestion the federal agency announced it will not follow.

The tribe isn’t shocked that we received opposition from Dianne Feinstein. Dianne Feinstein opposes all casino relocation projects,” Redding Rancheria Tribal Council Chairman Jack Potter said in response.

Redding Rancheria is working with the City of Redding and with Shasta County to mitigate any adverse impacts due to the construction and eventual operation of a gaming resort of this size and type, explained Lane Rickard, Director of Governmental Affairs for the tribe.

For example, during a brief appearance Jan. 24 at the Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting, Rickard highlighted some of the financial mitigation Redding Rancheria has agreed upon.

We are prepared to pay Shasta County $1.6 million up front in lieu of property taxes it would normally collect on the existing unimproved property,” Rickard stated.

In addition, Redding Rancheria will pay the county each year a Transient Occupancy Tax for each occupied hotel room and calculated at the same rate as all other hotels in Shasta County, Rickard added.

“As our CEO Tracy Edwards is fond of saying, we intend to pay our fair share,” Rickard said.

Just as the existing Win-River Casino & Resort on State Route 273 does, the proposed expanded casino resort will continue to contract for fire protection with Shasta County Fire assisted by CAL-Fire and the City of Redding Fire Department.

Non-gaming law enforcement issues will be contracted with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department with assistance from Redding Police Department.

We are prepared to make up-front payments of $1 million each to the Sheriff’s Department and Shasta County Fire for their respective needs, along with recurring annual payments for service based upon the number of calls each agency makes,” Rickard said.

Redding Rancheria is also prepared to contribute the costs of mitigating all traffic impacts their development will cause, he added.

Environmentally, Redding Rancheria will take measures to prevent stream bank erosion along the east bank of the Sacramento River in the vicinity of the construction site. Boulders will be placed above the ordinary high water mark as well as the flood water surface elevation, and then covered with hardened rock gravel similar to existing bank surfaces, according to the draft Environmental Impact Statement.

No construction will take place in the flood plain. All buildings and facilities will be outside of the 100-year flood plain area, the document further states.

Concerning utilities, potable water will be supplied to the site either by contract with the City of Redding or by drilling several 300 foot to 600 foot wells on the property.

Storm runoff from the 37-acre hotel and casino complex, surface roads and parking areas will be captured in a 650,000 cubic foot catch basin where it will filter into the ground.

This catch basin is sized to accommodate twice the runoff volume of an 85th percentile storm.

When the Sacramento River is at flood stage, the wet pond will also be submerged.

Runoff will be conveyed via a 40-foot wide, 5-foot deep vegetated swaddle running north to south along Interstate 5, between the freeway and any access road from the south end of the property to the casino and resort area. While Redding Rancheria waits for a positive outcome on the casino resort project, the Tribal Council is moving full steam ahead on other projects.

Construction should start early this year on a $150 million Health Center on property the tribe owns across Clear Creek, adjacent to the existing casino and hotel. 

While Redding Rancheria waits for a positive outcome on the casino resort project, the Tribal Council is moving full steam ahead on other projects. Construction should start early this year on a $150 million Health Center on property the tribe owns across Clear Creek, adjacent to the existing casino and hotel.


If you appreciate journalist George Winship’s reporting, please consider a contribution to A News Cafe. Thank you!

George Winship

George Winship is a long-time Shasta County resident with a wide range of professional and community experience. After earning a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon, he joined the Redding Record Searchlight as an award-winning reporter, and was the paper’s first business editor. He worked as a district field representative for Senator Maurice Johannessen, and later became editor of the Anderson Valley Post. Winship is a former Shasta County Grand Jury member. He owns and operates The Village Wordsmith, where he edits and rewrites clients’ book manuscripts, and works as a researcher and freelance feature writer. He can be reached at gwinship@shasta.com.

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