Jumping on the bandwagon of rapidly expanding tribal gaming casinos, the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians has opened the Soboba Casino Resort in San Jacinto, California. The new luxury casino is on par with a Las Vegas casino in its size and scale, and replaces a smaller casino on the site.

Major Casino Upgrade

The Soboba Casino Resort is a major upgrade from the tribe’s previous casino, which was more or less a string of tents filled with smoke and slot machines. The 1995 casino had not changed much since its opening, and the emphasis was purely on gambling with no frills. The crowded tent structures had a smattering of slot machines, a few table games, one lounge, and almost no food and drink options.

The newly-built casino resort sprawls over 480,000 square feet of tribal land, with 140,000 square feet devoted to gaming. The resort features 2,000 slot machines, 32 table games, multiple bars and restaurants, sports lounges, and a high roller room. The hotel houses 200 guest rooms, a pool, gym, and a conference center. Room options range from 450-square-foot deluxe rooms to 1,800-square-foot Presidential Suites.

Food and Entertainment

The new dining and entertainment options at the Soboba Casino Resort are a far cry from the sparse offerings in the former tent casino complex. The new dining, bar, and restaurant options combine the concept of a high-end restaurant row, upscale bars, as well as a food court with a variety of international flavors for every budget.

The resort boasts several sit-down restaurants, a sport cabaret, a noodle bar, a café, and a poolside bar & grill. An upscale restaurant named Canyons offers a wide variety of appetizers, seafood, desserts, and a wine list. The Fairway Café is a 24-hour café with an impressive view over the Soboba Springs Golf Course. A signature highlight of the casino is the Tree Bar, a huge illuminated tree with strings of glass beads dangling from its branches.

Casino Competition

The construction of the Soboba Casino Resort is a response to the major increase in tribal gaming resorts across the U.S., but casino competition is especially hot in California. The state pulls in more tribal casino income than all others combined, with the biggest concentration of revenue coming from the Sacramento area and the Southern California region. Competition among tribal casinos is fierce, and the Soboba Casino Resort is expanding to match or beat others. Nearby rival casinos include the Pechanga Resort Casino and the San Manuel Casino.

The Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula is the largest tribal casino in California, with over 3,000 slot machines and dozens of gaming tables occupying 200,000 square feet of gaming space. The Pechanga recently underwent a $300 million expansion. Other tribal casinos competing for the Southern California gambling dollar include Cahuilla Casino and the Morongo Casino, Resort and Spa.

Growth Potential

According to local news sources, Isaiah Vivanco, Vice-Chairman for the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, said he is excited about the current casino and its potential for expansion. The multiple event spaces offer the potential for Super Bowl parties, corporate retreats, and more. “The beauty of this is that it allows us to do so much more,” Vivanco said. “We’re not confined to one space for one group.”

“The beauty of this is that it allows us to do so much more,

We’re not confined to one space for one group.”

Isaiah Vivanco, Vice-Chairman for the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians

The resort’s conference center covers 15,000 square feet and can be customized and configured in many ways. For larger events, it can be configured as one massive space, or subdivided into smaller rooms of varying sizes, depending on the needs of the client. The conference center is already attracting corporate event clients and wedding bookings, and it has the potential for hosting concerts.

The total annual revenue of U.S. tribal casinos is over $27 billion per year, and the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, one of over 500 federally-recognized American Indian tribes, is well-positioned to share the wealth.

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Richard Holmes was born in Tampa, Florida and studied computer science at Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola Florida. A devout Baptist, volunteer Sunday School teacher and online gaming fan, Richard works as a part-time systems administrator at Baptist Hospital and part-time professional blogger specializing in statistics, probability and computer science issues. He is an ardent believer in the future of artificial intelligence as a tool for transforming human society for the better, particularly in the area of health care and modern medicine. A chess player, and competitive online gamer Richard actively participates on online gaming tournaments in his free time.