California state authorities have given the go-ahead for work to begin on the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon, a new $600M casino in Kern County, about 25 minutes drive south of Bakersfield.
320 acres of native American land in the county will be taken into federal trust by the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs (DIBIA), which will allow California to enter a Class III gaming compact with the Tejon Indian Tribe – which has partnered with Hard Rock.
The Class III gaming compact, which requires federal backing, will allow a full Las Vegas-style casino resort to be built. Current plans cover 400 hotel rooms, slot machines and gaming tables, meeting and convention spaces, a pool, eateries, a spa, a fitness center, and a live entertainment venue.
According to the official project website, over 5,000 new jobs are expected to be created in the local area by the project. The published plan also shows facilities including a community center, health center, tribal administration building, community park, organic farm, water retention and reclamation facility, RV parking, and space for residential development located adjacent to the casino.
Numbering just 1,200 or so members, the Tejon Tribe has been attempting to acquire land in Mettler, Kern County, for more than a decade. It is hoped that work will start on the casino site next summer, with completion taking at least 20 months.