California has tentatively welcomed its latest tribal casino entrant this week, as Harrah’s Northern California hosted a soft opening ahead of its much larger festivities, which are scheduled to take place across the weekend of May 17-19.

The $168m development, falling under the Caesars Entertainment banner, sees the firm continue to expand into new markets, after entering an agreement with the Buena Vista Gaming Authority, an entity of the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California.

Becoming the 17th Harrah’s branded venue, local media reports that thousands flocked to the property, as local businesses hope to ride on the back of the success of the new casino entity.

“We have a lot of guests who frequent from the Bay Area, [Sacramento], Lake Tahoe and Reno and we wanted to capitalise on that mid-week,” stated JC Rieger, Harrah’s Northern California senior vice president and general manager.

Adding when previously discussing the venue’s prospective grand opening: “A new casino opening always brings economic opportunity. We expect Amador County to benefit from the creation of new jobs and services and, given our unique footprint, expect other areas of the region to benefit as well.”

Located in the city of Ione in Amador County, 32 miles southeast of The Golden State’s capital city of Sacramento, Harrah’s Northern California houses 950 slot machines, 20 game tables, one full-service restaurant and three fast-casual dining concepts.

The new offering’s hotly anticipated arrival, which includes Caesars bring its revamped rewards programme, is expected to create 500 new jobs, of which 400 are slated to be full-time, with a number of further benefits also set to be felt by the local community.

Casino developers are said to have made significant contributions toward community improvement projects, including roadway enhancements, traffic mitigation efforts, a $100,000 contribution toward the Amador County School District and enhancement of the area’s fire protection services, through the establishment of a new station and increased support of emergency medical services.

At the time of the grand opening later in the month, over $20m will have been gifted to the community for improvements such as fire protection, police, schools, highways and roadways, emergency medical services, and an annual donation for community projects in excess of $1m per year is to also be provided as a result of the casino’s development.