With more and more states legalizing online gambling, it might only be a matter of time before it becomes an option for California residents. Attractive welcome bonuses and promo codes are a big draw for casino fans from New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada and soon Pennsylvania. In the meantime, though, California residents need to make use of land-based casinos. The good news, however, is that the Golden State is blessed with perhaps the best casinos outside of Vegas, and most of them are within easy reach of Santa Clarita. Let’s have a look at the pick of them now.
Pechenga Resort & Casino
Located in Temecula on an Indian reservation, the Pechenga is the largest casino in the state of California, with a floor space bigger even than the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The choice of games is equally impressive, with blackjack, poker and craps on offer. Slot fans will be impressed with no less than 3400 Vegas-style machines to choose from. Although Vegas-style roulette tables are banned throughout California, the Pechenga version is just as much fun. This so-called Mystery Card Roulette game neatly sidesteps the law banning games of chance from being decided by a ball, by using a set of cards and a Wheel of Fortune. When you are done with the casino games, try the cabaret and comedy club, before retiring to one of the spa suites, which come complete with a hot tub for two.
Pala Casino Spa & Resort
A little further along Route 15 from the Pechenga, lies the Pala resort, set among the beautiful hills of the Palomar range. The Pala is worth visiting for the spa alone, ranked as it is among the top 100 in the country. This makes it a perfect getaway location to mix gambling with relaxation. The games on offer are the rival of any in the State, including poker, slots, various table games and even bingo. A high limit room allows for bets of up to $5000, so if you are in the mood for some high stakes excitement, the Pala will not disappoint. It should be noted that at the time of writing (November 2017) parts of the resort are undergoing renovation, but from 2018 the Pala should be back bigger and better as the most exclusive casino resort in California.
Morongo Casino Resort & Spa
Just a 2-hour drive down Route 201, the Morongo is an easy quick getaway for Santa Claritans looking for casino fun. The 330 feet casino tower is the tallest building in the Inland Empire, and the complex includes a large pool area, a golf course and a shopping mall, as well as the widest range of casino games in the state. Poker and blackjack tables are in abundance, and slots fans are in for a treat at the Morongo, whatever their appetite for risk. Monopoly, Blazing 7’s and Playboy platinum are available, with wagers ranging from $1 to $200.
Most of the best casinos in SoCal are resort-style operations found on Native American land which are best enjoyed as part of an overnight or weekend trip. In contrast, the Hustler casino in Gardena is just 15 miles south of Downtown Los Angeles and is ideal for those who just want to play. As the name suggests, the Hustler is owned by Larry Flynt, and these days the casino is responsible for most of his company profits. Since the casino is not an Indian Gaming establishment, only games of skill are allowed here, so you won’t hear the jingling sound of slot machines. For fans of card games such as poker or blackjack, the Hustler is probably the best in the State. In total there are fifty poker tables on offer, featuring Texas Hold’em and seven card stud. To raise the excitement levels, some of these games even offer progressive jackpots. If you are a serious card player, the Hustler is the place to visit.
Southern California’s casinos have something for everyone, from the wide range of slots on offer at Pechenga to the card-player paradise of the Hustler to the luxury and beauty of the Pala Resort. Next time you get the gambling urge, there’s no need to go to Vegas, when some of the best casinos in the country are just a couple of hour’s drive away from Santa Clarita.