California tribe issues bonds to finance casino construction

The Estom Yumeka Maidu tribe wants to build a casino in Yuba County, CA.  In order to help it pay for construction, the tribe has announced plans to offer a total of $440 million in collateral-backed bonds through the Enterprise Development Authority (EDA), a plan that has received some support by the financial services firm S&P Global Incorporated. 

The 170-room casino would be built on 40 acres of land owned by the tribe near Marysville.  According to information released by the tribe, Hard Rock International could become the casino's operator.  The tribe's spokesperson, Charles Alterkruse, said, “We are moving ahead with preliminary steps to put the pieces together to get fully engaged in construction.  We are hoping to make a big announcement in the near future.”

S&P gave EDA a credit rating of 'B' in response to the bond plan.  It added that it would raise the level by one notch if the casino opens according to schedule and makes initial financial projections.  S&P also affirmed that there was little chance the grade would be downgraded as the tribe has "sufficient sources of liquidity to cover interest for twelve months post-opening."

The tribe has attempted to bring the casino to its land since 2016, but has repeatedly faced lawsuits.  A recent federal court decision that threw out the lawsuits paved the way for the tribe to finally move forward with its plans.  It hopes to have the casino operational sometime during the latter half of next year.  

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