After a years-long struggle, the Tejon Indian Tribe of California is moving full steam ahead on bringing the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon to Kern County. For nearly a decade, the Tejon Indian Tribe, one of California’s many federally recognized Native American tribes, has been seeking to have its acquired land in Mettler placed on the Federal Register.
The state granted final approval in June 2022 when California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a gaming compact authorizing up to 3,000 slot machines. This past November, the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs agreed to take about 320 acres of the tribe’s land into the federal trust.
Members of the tribe and people in Kern County are eagerly awaiting one of the biggest casino brands to plant yet another flag in California. Here’s what folks can expect over the next year from one of the state’s newest Indian casinos in California.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon Project Status
Following federal approval, the path is clear for construction to begin on the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon.
Currently, no date has been set for when construction will get underway. However, it will take at least 20 months from the groundbreaking to the grand opening.
With an estimated construction cost of $600 million, the entertainment complex will sit on 320 acres near Interstate 5 south of Bakersfield. The resort will be headlined by an 11-story, 400-room hotel with a 165,500-square-foot casino housing more than 3,000 slot machines and table games.
The resort will offer 13 food and beverage venues, a spa and salon, and a fitness center. It will also have a Hard Rock Live entertainment space, a resort-style pool complex, and meeting and convention space. Parking will have 3,600-4,500 spaces. There will also be RV parking covering up to 22 acres. Open space will be used for organic farming, tribal headquarters, a community park, and housing for tribal members.
When it opens, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon will be California’s 67th Class III gaming casino.
Up to 5,000 New Jobs
The Tejon Tribe’s casino project has received a load of local support since day one. In particular from the people in Kern County, where the casino will be built. Kern County spokesperson Ally Soper said the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will be a tremendous addition to the community — and add up to 5,000 new jobs.
“Just in the construction alone, it’s going to be creating about 1,000 jobs, with nearly 4,000 new permanent, direct and indirect jobs once this project is completed, including a projected $60 million payroll,” Soper told California Casinos.
With this project, there is also a local hiring provision. Meaning that at least 50% of the casino’s workforce must be made up of Kern County residents. Soper said that bringing the casino to the county will bring in an estimated $85 million in revenue.
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So far as the local infrastructure is concerned, Soper said a new fire station and new sheriff station will be located close by to ensure the safety of residents and visitors. She added that the casino will bring a much-needed income stream for the Tejon Indian Tribe.
“Many other California Indian tribes have this type of income stream for their organizations, so this is really something that has been needed for our Tejon Indian Tribe, and it has been a long time coming,” Soper said. “Our county is just trying to think of all avenues we can to help ease any worry of residents and make it as safe as possible.”
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‘This Is a Great Win for Kern County’
Soper said residents are thrilled to have the Hard Rock Casino go up in their neck of the woods. She added that this project shows extreme innovation and collaboration with the Tejon Indian Tribe. Soper said the new casino proves that Kern County isn’t stagnant regarding economic development.
“We’re known for oil, gas, and agriculture,” she said. “But we’re also here to innovate and make sure that we are moving forward with other streams of revenue.”
Soper said the casino will bring in tax revenue that will benefit Kern County residents. It also provides the local community with a place where they can expect a five-star, first-class experience.
“With Kern County being so close to LA County, this is going to be a true destination for local performers, talent coming up from LA, and really giving our community somewhere that they can go,” Soper said.