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Graton casino eyes half-billion annual revenue

  • A security guard walks in front of the east entrance of the Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (Christopher Chung / The Press Democrat)

The Graton Resort & Casino is expected to bring in about $533 million in annual gambling revenues within two years, according to a report prepared for Station Casinos, the Las Vegas company that manages the 3,000-slot machine hall about to open outside Rohnert Park.

The analysis estimates that the casino, owned by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, will capture nearly a third of what in 2011 was a $1.69 billion Northern California gambling market. It defines that market as the region within three hours of Rohnert Park and already containing at least 20 casinos.

“This is Godzilla,” said tribal gaming law attorney Dennis Whittlesey in Washington, D.C., who has worked on multiple casino development projects.

Graton Resort & Casino

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San Francisco, Oakland and Marin County are together expected to generate $248 million per year for the casino. Sonoma County residents are expected to generate $103 million, and San Jose visitors $41 million in annual revenue.

Station Casinos officials would not comment on the report, saying it is confidential information.

The “Gaming Market Assessment” report for Station Casinos was prepared in early 2012, by The Innovation Group, a New Orleans- and Colorado-based consulting and management firm that specializes in the gambling industry.

A copy of it became public in August 2012 when Station Casinos submitted it to Rohnert Park as part of its unsuccessful bid to build and operate a new city-owned digital advertising sign on Highway 101.

The report analyzes potential customers by their distance from the casino, their income, their likelihood of visiting it, their likelihood of visiting more than once, and the amount of money each is expected to leave behind per visit.

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