River Rock Casino taking hit in wake of Graton casino opening

River Rock, Sonoma County's first tribal casino, has seen its revenues plummet since the opening of the Graton Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park, forcing a significant reduction in employees along with cuts in payments and benefits to its tribal members.

The competition from Sonoma County's newest casino appears to be every bit as tough as River Rock and its owners, the Dry Creek Rancheria tribe, anticipated prior to Graton's debut in November.

Dry Creek Tribal Chairman Harvey Hopkins acknowledged the 12-year-old casino has seen more than the 30 percent drop in revenue that was anticipated prior to Graton's opening.

Although he declined to be more specific, other tribal officials indicated the situation was dire.

"Graton is knocking the crap out of us. Forty to 45 percent of our revenue is gone," one source with knowledge of the casino's finances said last week.

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