Eagle Mountain Casino Holds Grand Opening Ceremony

Tulare County’s only casino is celebrating a new home in Porterville.

Eagle Mountain Casino held its grand opening ceremony on Tuesday, May 9, two years after breaking ground on the project in April 2021.

The property is adjacent to Porterville Municipal Airport, a few minutes from Highways 65 and 190. It replaces the former California casino of the same moniker, which was 30 minutes east of town on the Tule River Reservation and operated from June 1996 to April 2023.

“We are extremely excited to celebrate the official Grand Opening of the new Eagle Mountain Casino,” Eagle Mountain Casino General Manager Matthew Mingrone told CaliforniaCasinos. “This has been a labor of love for those involved. Eagle Mountain Casino is not only celebrating the new property but also 27 years of being a local entertainment destination. The entire Eagle Mountain Casino team is humbled to be able to be a part of the momentous occasion.”

New and improved, by all measures

The new Eagle Mountain Casino boasts 100,000 square feet of gaming space with 1,750 slot machines and 20 table games.

These numbers represent significant increases from the old facility, which had 1,200 machines and 11 table games within 70,000 square feet.

Other new features include a 2,000-seat event center, sports bar and grill, and a 24-hour diner. The River Steak House and Yokuts Coffee House will also be available, just like at the old location.

Tule River Tribe benefits, despite moving off-reservation

Even before breaking ground, the Tule River Tribe began looking into moving Eagle Mountain Casino from the reservation to nearby Porterville. Why?

Like so many other battles in the Central Valley, the answer is water. The casino used 40,000 gallons of water daily that could have gone to new homes on the reservation instead.

Porterville City Council approved moving the casino in 2019, with the tribe contributing $1 million to the city each year for the rights to operate. The project will also create nearly 1,000 jobs between construction and casino roles, offering additional employment opportunities for tribal members.

Mingrone said:

“It is a testament to the Tule River Tribe’s rich tradition of hospitality and community involvement. Over the past 150 years, the tribe has persisted, survived and even flourished despite the many obstacles put in front of them. This casino relocation not only provides a financial impact for its citizens but a tremendous amount of economic benefits to the local area as well by providing close to 1,000 jobs and millions of dollars in donations and sponsorships.”

Hotel, conference center and more to follow

Eagle Mountain’s grand opening is only the beginning for its new property. The casino, event center and dining options were Phase 1 of the project.

As for Phase 2, construction will continue to add a 125-room hotel and 20,000 square feet of banquet and conference space.

The old casino shut down indefinitely in April 2023 due to flooding but will be renovated and repurposed to help the community further. It will soon have several uses, including:

  • Expanding the existing Tribal school site
  • Increased health services to Tribal Members
  • Relocating Tribal offices to consolidate Tribal government
  • Keeping some restaurant options open from the former casino, despite shutting down gaming operations
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