Across the state of California, gambling as a whole is widely accepted. Everything from sports bets, horse races wagers and classic table games are in fact quite popular.
Casinos can be found in the big metropolitan areas like Los Angeles as well as in small townships. Gambling laws in California place some unusual restrictions; for example, roulette and craps games are different, as state law specifically states that gambling with dice and spinning balls is illegal. Additionally, California does not legislate online gambling, though the recent overturning of PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992) s paving the way across the US for states to move towards legislation of sports and online betting.
There is, however, more leniency within the Native American casinos in the state, of which there are 66 operated by 60 different native tribes. Under a separate regulation that still protects gamblers, there is more freedom within these venues than any other in the state. Let’s take a look into why.
Native American Gambling
Native American gambling includes casinos, bingo halls and other types of gambling like Keno, dice-based games, and non-casino games like lotteries and scratch-cards. These operations sit outside of state regulation because these lands have tribal sovereignty.Despite gambling being heavily regulated across the US, and with different laws in different states, there is limited control that state or federal laws can have on gambling that takes place on these lands.
The operations of Native American gambling is regulated by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1998, meaning that although it is not regulated in the same way as other gambling in the US, there is still a framework in place that helps to protect players and operators alike. As of 2011, there were 240 tribes operating over 460 gambling operations, with a revenue of around $27 billion a year.
Tribal casinos are hugely popular, especially in states like California that do not provide many alternatives. However, recent changes in attitudes towards online gambling, and changes in legislation making online gaming more popular, are providing some competition to Native American Casinos.
The online realm also opens up a whole new demographic; those who would not ordinarily travel to a physical location to gamble may well be tempted to try it out on their phone or computer. Additionally, there is a social element to online playing that is different to that in a land-based casino, where players can use the chat function to interact with those geographically far from them and make friends based on interest rather than distance.
The UK, for example, which is regulated by The Gambling Commission, is continuously growing their online platform. Year on year, the online sector is responsible for around 38.6% of the gambling industries revenue.
Online casinos in the UK create interactive platforms to be enjoyed from home. Check out this veteran UK operator, that is using in-house tools to offer seasoned and novice players a wide set of casino games that you will not find anywhere else. Should the US follow in the footsteps of the UK,the Native American land-based casinos may begin to fall in popularity.
Native American Land-Based Venues
As the Native American casinos stand out so much from the rest of the Californian crowd, let’s take a look into some of the state’s most popular tribally run casinos.
Pechanga Resort Casino
45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula, CA 92592
This casino resort is run by the Pechanga Band of Luisebnotribes and can be found in the Temecula Wine Valley of Riverside County, California. It was built in 2002 and comprises 188 thousand square feet with 5000 slot machines, 158 table games, 38 poker tables and a 700 seat bingo room. It also has a hotel, with 1090 rooms, 13 pools and a 25 thousand square foot spa, as well as over 20 restaurants and bars showcasing food from around the world.
San Manuel Casino Resort
777 San Muguel Boulevard, Highland, CA 92346
After closing its bingo hall in 2017, this casino resort changed its logo and began a half billion renovation project to add a hotel, parking, and even more gaming space. In 2020, it opened a mammoth parking garage with space for 2200 cars, unveiled smoke free slots and opened the new Vault Gaming room, a steampunk themes gaming room.
Plans are afoot to open a 17-story hotel with over 400 rooms by 2022, 1300 new slot machine and 40 more gaming tables. There are also plane to build and open a new 24-hour Café as well as a number of fine dining offerings, as well as a large 3000 seat event studio.
La Jolla Trading Post Casino
22003 Highway 76, Suite B, Pauma Valley, CA 92061
This casino is located just 40 minutes away from Escondido and is operated by the La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians, who has been in situ for thousands of years. As well as having over 2500 square feet of gaming floor, this was the first 100% smoke-free casino in the state of California. It offers snacks and refreshments galore, with freshly made pizzas being their speciality, as well as famously low gas process, always a bonus in the US! Though not a resort style casino, there is plenty of excitement for a fun day out.
To summarise, if you’re visiting California with the hope of finding a chair available at a poker table or wile away the hours playing on the local slot machine, you won’t be hard pressed. If this is your plan, make sure you venture into one of the many Native American-owned venues, where you’ll likely find more opportunities.