California Indian Gaming Industry is Booming

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As the state of California considers gaming legislation related to online poker and the addition of sports betting within the state’s border, a number of California-based Indian Tribes are moving full speed ahead with casino development plans.

Near Temecula, which is home to some of the state’s best wine vineyards, the Pechanga Indian tribe is preparing to unveil its latest addition to the Pechanga Resort and Casino Hotel. Already holding a spot as the largest operating casino within the state’s border, Pechanga will be adding another 14-floor tower to its existing property. At a cost of $285 million, the addition will create another 568 rooms for guests. That will bring the total room capacity to 1,090 room to go along with a pool complex, new event center and plenty more restaurants.

In a effort to keep up with the competition, Pala Casino Spa and Resort, located in Northern San Diego County, recently announced plans to remodel its existing facility and add another 349-room tower. This will bring the facility’s capacity to 854 rooms. The estimated cost of this expansion is $170 million. All of this comes on the heels of completing a $6.1 million RV parking project.

In November, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians announced plans of their own to build a 500-room hotel. The project will include 2,200-stall parking structure and a 4,000-
seat entertainment venue. While budget details were not made readily available, the Tribe anticipates breaking ground sometime next year with an estimated completion date of sometime during 2020.

The big news in December comes in the form of an announcement from the Luiseno Indian Tribe located in the San Jacinto area. After breaking ground on its new proposed 729,000 square foot Saboba Casino Resort in February of 2017, the tribe announced that progress has been on target. On December 11, 2017, the tribe held a “topping” ceremony that include the signing of three of the facility’s main beams by a host of tribesmen, casino employees and construction workers.

In an interview with The Press Enterprise, Michael Castello, Soboba Tribal Administrator, said that the topping ceremony was “one of the significant milestones of the whole construction project.” He later added, “We’re trying to landmark all of these special milestones. It’s special to be able to have the tribal members sign their names on something that will be up for decades.”

Based on current plans, the project will cover over 37 acres of reservation property. It will include 450,000-square feet in phase I, which will include a 140,000-square foot casino (some might refer to it as a SlotSino), a 200-room hotel, sports bar, conference space, restaurants, an 8,300-square foot swimming pool and both ground and garage parking, as reported by the same news agency. When completed, the new casino will replace the current tent casino facility the tribe has been operating for 21 years. It worth noting that three other tribes in the San Jacinto area are also in the midst of plans to build a new casino or refurbish an existing facility.

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