Marty Derbyshire me-wuk harrah's

A new Harrah’s casino resort is going up in Northern California on land belonging to the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians. 

The tribe broke ground on the 71,000-square-foot facility in Amador County in early April. A few days later, Caesars Entertainment Corporation announced it had signed an agreement with the Buena Vista Gaming Authority to put the Harrah’s name on it.

The property will be called Harrah’s Northern California Casino. It will be developed, owned, and operated by the Buena Vista Gaming Authority during its construction.

However, Caesars is doing more than just lending the name of one of the most iconic brands in the gambling industry to the project. It will provide brand licensing and consulting services for the casino from the outset.

Plus, once the property opens, Caesars plans on signing an agreement with the Buena Vista Gaming Authority to manage and maintain the property on its behalf.

Harrah’s Northern California Casino to open in 2019

Plans are to open the casino in 2019 with 950 slots, 20 table games, one full-service restaurant, and three fast-casual dining concepts.

Rhonda L. Morningstar Pope-Flores, chairwoman of the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians, said the tribe believes the Harrah’s name will attract more people to the property.

“We’re excited to partner with Caesars Entertainment to bring the Harrah’s brand to our gaming project. Harrah’s is a world-class brand that is known for offering a fun gaming atmosphere with unparalleled customer service. We’re confident that it will attract more people to our destination.”

The Me-Wuk reservation land is a little more than 30 miles southeast of the state capital of Sacramento. It is also just one mile south of the town of Buena Vista.

According to a Reuters article published last month, The Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians is financing the project by agreeing to pay one of the highest interest rates on a junk bond seen since the recent financial crash.

The tribe sold a $205 million five-year bond to finance the project, agreeing to a yield of 14.425 percent on the secured bond. That’s a figure ICE Bank of America Merrill Lynch says is more than double the 6.28 percent offered on the average US junk bond.

Harrah’s turns 80 this year

As for the brand in question, Harrah’s is celebrating its 80th birthday this year.

The iconic gambling brand was born when founder William F. Harrah opened a bingo parlor in Reno, Nevada in 1937. Harrah’s first hotel soon followed in Downtown Reno. The brand expanded to Las Vegas with the opening of Harrah’s Las Vegas in 1992. The property remains one of 16 Harrah’s resorts around the world.

Harrah’s bought out Caesars Entertainment Inc. in June 2005. It was a $9 billion deal, which was the largest in US casino industry history at the time.

Harrah’s Entertainment officially changed its name to Caesars Entertainment five years later. However, it kept Harrah’s, Caesars, and Horseshoe as the company’s primary casino brands.

Caesars Entertainment now operate 47 casinos in 13 US states and five countries. Plus, it operates legal and regulated online poker and online casino sites in New Jersey and Nevada.

The Buena Vista Gaming Authority

The Buena Vista Gaming Authority is an arm of the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians. It handles gaming and related businesses for the tribe.

The Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians is a federally recognized Indian tribe. It has occupied Amador County since at least 1817.

Editorial credit: Andy Borysowski /

Marty Derbyshire
Marty Derbyshire - Martin Derbyshire is a veteran of the world of poker and gambling, having worked as a reporter, producer, and editor in the industry for more than a decade. He has traveled the globe interviewing high-profile personalities and contributes to a number of publications, including,, and