Coachella Valley Casinos Open Memorial Day Weekend

Desert FlowersCasinos in California’s Coachella Valley are reopening Memorial Day Weekend despite the advice of Governor Gavin Newsom, who urged tribal governments to consider the public health risks of resuming gaming operations.

The state of California has no authority over tribes operating casinos, as they are regarded as sovereign nations. In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians that casinos operating on tribal land are free from state regulation. However, tribes have been encouraged to work in conjunction with states to distribute profits that would normally be taxed.

The Coachella Valley-area casinos reopening include the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa, Spotlight 29 Casino, Tortoise Rock Casino, and the Agua Caliente casinos in Palm Spring and Rancho Mirage.

Tribal Casinos Share New Safety Measures

The Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage will reopen with a handful of changes. The property’s fitness center, poker room, and pool will remain closed until further notice. Hand-sanitizer stations have been added through the casino floor. Both Agua Caliente casinos in Palm Spring and Rancho Mirage will keep their buffets closed and cease valet parking services for the time being.

The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians said in a statement their Spotlight 29 and Tortoise Rock casinos were thoroughly cleaned during the temporary closures. Half of the seating for slot machines has been removed to allow for proper social distancing.

Casino employees will undergo testing for COVID-19 before they are permitted to return to work. All guests will be required to undergo temperature checks prior to entering the casinos. Guests, employees, and vendors are required to wear masks.

The Morongo Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians reported the Morongo Casino will also conduct temperature screenings, and capacity has been reduced to provide space for social distancing. The casino plans to operate without poker and bingo for the foreseeable future. Valet parking has also been put on hold.

Could California Become America’s Sports Betting Capital?

SportsbookIt’s been two years since the U.S. Supreme Court has removed legal barriers to sports betting, and in November, Californians may be asked to join 14 other states in allowing legal wagers on sports.

Should this go through, it would create an even more lucrative gambling industry in the state, worth upwards of billions of dollars and effectively creating competition among rival gambling interests in the state.

On Tuesday, 18 of California’s key Indian gaming tribes were given the green light to petition a statewide ballot initiative that would allow sports betting at tribal casinos and horse racing tracks, but not at rival card clubs or the internet.

Sen. Bill Dodd, who chairs the Senate Governmental Organization Committee that oversees gaming, told Legal Sports Report this:

“Frankly, I didn’t expect it, but it really wasn’t a surprise,” Dodd said. “They obviously have firm beliefs on what they see should be happening in this area, and that’s their right. But I represent all the people in the state of California, not just the tribes. And I think our approach to this should be more holistic.”

Senator Dodd says he and Assembly counterpart, Adam Gray, will proceed with holding hearings to fill out ACA 16. The ACA 16 is a bill that is a constitutional amendment to permit sports betting in the nation’s most populous state.

The first sports betting hearing on the ACA 16 was originally scheduled for Nov. 20, 2019 at Staples Center, but it didn’t happen. The hearing was re-scheduled for Jan. 15 in Sacramento.

Tribes Unrelated to Earlier Sports Betting Hearing Delays

Despite the state’s Native American tribes opting to break off and file their own amendment, the earlier hearings were not cancelled on account of this. The biggest cause behind the earlier postponement was the California wildfires, and rescheduling constraints.

While the Native American tribes aren’t responsible for the hearing postponements, they have added extra stress to the discussion, according to Dodd.

Dodd expressed that he and Gray wanted to go into hearings with an empty slate and hear from all sides before putting together a plan for offering sports betting in the state. Now that battle lines have been drawn, that slate is all but clear.

What Legalized Sports Betting in California Could Mean

A legal sports betting market could bring in $2.5 billion in gross revenue annually in California, the largest market in the country, according to Chris Grove, a managing director for Eilers and Krejcik Gambling LLC, a research and consulting firm that has provided estimates to California lawmakers.

The market could generate $250 million to $500 million in tax revenue for the state based on whether the tax rate is 10% or 20%, Gray said.

At a hearing earlier this month, Gray said:f

“It is clear that we are quickly heading in the direction of a well-thought-out, legal sports betting framework here in California. We need to create this framework to ensure regulatory oversight and provide consumer protections to get this long-standing and emerging activity out of the shadows of the illicit or black market.”

Sports Betting Must Become Legal Online, Too

California’s system should also seek to allow betting over the internet and smartphones using state-licensed sites so the legal system can compete and reduce the black market, league officials say.

The MLB has five teams in California. This is the most of any state in the US, so “it’s really important that California get it right, particularly because this will be the largest betting market in the country and it will be a state that other states look to,” Brian Seeley, a senior league vice president and deputy general counsel for Major League Baseball, told lawmakers this month.

Senator Dodd elaborated on the importance of an online sports betting market further:

“It’s clear that if we truly want to take illegal sports betting out of the shadows, there needs to be an online component for those who won’t patronize brick-and-mortar outlets.

Without that, it will remain largely unregulated, continue to pose the risk of fraud and fail to generate funds for education or help with problem gambling.”

Tribal leaders dispute that mobile betting should be allowed and their initiative would only allow betting at racetracks and at casinos, where patrons might be more likely to participate in other gambling activities as well.

“Though sports betting remains illegal in our state, the fact remains that Californians have and will continue to wager billions of dollars every single year on their favorite sport,” Dodd said.


Hard Rock Sacramento is Now Open to the Public

Hard Rock International is having an extremely busy year. This major US casino company has been expanding across the US, opening venues in several new states. The Hard Rock Sacramento Hotel & Casino is now open and from what we’re heading, it’s a major hit with locals.

Hard Rock Casino Logo

California is no stranger to casinos. Hope is that this new venue helps to capture the Sacramento market. Let’s look at what this exciting new gambling establishment has to offer.

California Continues to Expand its Casino Industry

California isn’t necessarily thought of as a US gambling hub. That’s a little surprising, considering the massive number of gambling venues here. Since the 90s, Native American tribes in this state have been opening casinos in California.

This is thanks to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which was passed by the US Supreme Court in 1988. This set of laws allows tribes to operate brick-and-mortar casinos on sovereign land. Today, more than half of all the tribes in this state now own and operate gambling establishments.

There are a huge number of casinos now spread around the entire state. Amazingly, tribes are continuing to construct and open new venues. These casinos help to generate massive revenue earnings for the state government. Many great online casinos in CA are available here, as well, yet none of them are regulated by the state.

California is also showing some interest in the newly-emerging sports betting industry. Since May of 2018, every state has been granted the option to legalize sports betting. Many believe that in time, this form of gambling will be allowed in the Golden State.

This week, one of the biggest and most profitable casino companies in the country opened a new casino in Northern California.

Hard Rock Sacramento Finally Opens to the Public

As we’ve already mentioned, officials within Hard Rock International has been working hard this year. For months, this company has been preparing to open a new gambling venue in Wheatland, in the Sacramento area of the state. Construction has finally concluded and the Hard Rock Sacramento venue is now open to the public.

According to multiple reports, this $450 million casino is already proving to be successful. It features several four-star restaurants, multiple bars, and 100 pieces of museum-quality rock and roll collectibles.

As of now, Hard Rock Sacramento offers its guests 1,500 slot machines, 57 table games, and a host of other fun gambling options. There’s also a massive entertainment venue now open here with major acts such as Def Leppard set to perform this week.

With more than 40 casinos in the area, this casino will have its work cut out. Competition in the California tribal casino market is extremely strong. It’s clear, however, that Hard Rock International feels this will be one of the most popular gambling venues in the state.

“People know the brand and we really think that will allow us to grow the market, bring people in from all over the region and bring people on from the western part of the United States,” said President of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento Mark Birtha. 

Hard Rock International Pushes for Overseas Expansion

Today, many of the biggest US casino companies are pushing hard to open venues overseas. Asia, in particular, is becoming a hotbed for casino gambling. Soon, Japan and the Philippines could be considered some of the biggest casino markets in the world.

Hard Rock International is now working hard to open a gambling venue in Japan. Officials within the company claim they’d like to open a venue in either Okaka or Yokohama. Only three casino licenses are being handed out in this country.

The Las Vegas Strip is also starting to look more appealing to Hard Rock International. Jim Allen, CEO of the company, told the media that purchasing a property on the Strip is “certainly a possibility.”

For now, however, the company is content to keep opening venues in other parts of the country. Hard Rock Sacramento is up and running and many seem to be flocking here.

Stay tuned for more US casino news over the next few weeks!

Soboba Casino Resort Opening Today

The Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians is opening a new casino resort in southern California. With gaming operations that are a part of this 474,000 sq ft resort, they will be plenty of room to play casino games and enjoy various other activities.

The Press-Enterprise newspaper issued an article stating that the tribe, which is federally recognized, decided to build the Riverside County complex back in February 2017. Furthermore, the report states that they plan to welcome guests to the hotel on Friday. The hotel is a part of this brand new venue and will have a total of 200 rooms available for visitors.

Apart from the casino and the hotel, the resort will also feature various venues such as a lobby bar, a sports bar, meeting & events space, cabaret lounge, and more. Furthermore, people who like to live a healthy lifestyle will be able to enjoy the fitness center, and golf-lovers can even attend the Soboba Springs Golf Course. There are also a couple of restaurants, including a noodle restaurant, a food court, a cafe, and a coffee shop.

The Competition Problem

The Soboba Casino Resort is mainly planned to replace the small facility that the tribe had that was not big enough to be competitive. Their main competitor is Pechanga Resort Casino, which was recently subject to a $300 million expansion. Pechanga was expanded with a second hotel tower, a pool, and an events center.

Another competitor is San Manuel Casino, which is also located in the proximity of Soboba and has a $550 million expansion plan that would introduce a parking garage, a 450-room hotel, and an entertainment facility with 3000 seats, and is currently one of the best casino offerings for California residents.

The Vice-Chairman of the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, Isaiah Vivanco, has stated that the gaming floor inside the casino would offer approximately 2,000 slots and about 32 gaming tables. He also explained how to reach the resorts, stating that it is an 85-mile drive east of downtown Los Angeles. Furthermore, Vivanco stated that the resort would also feature a cabaret lounge as well as banqueting facilities. The food service space would have 22,000 sq ft and would feature a noodle restaurant, a coffee shop, a 24/7 cafe, as well as a food court.

Moreover, Vivanco stated that Soboba Casino Resort was located on 37.5 acres of land which is one mile away from the existing casino of the tribe. Finally, there will be a conference space which will take up 15,000 sq ft, as well as a fitness center with a bar and a huge pool complex.

The Old Casino is Closing

The Soboba Casino Resort opening means closing the old facility. Vivanco said the old venue was owned by Soboba Economic Development Corporation and that they would decide what to do with it. He added that they were still discussing what would be the best use for the property where the old casino is currently located.

To sum up, the new Soboba Casino Resort is opening today, and starting Friday, people will be able to visit it and enjoy most of the services available in it. They are certainly on a good path to stay competitive and attract many people who are looking forward to spending quality leisure time that not only includes playing casino games but enjoying various other activities offered in the resort. It will be open 24/7 and the casino part will include all the popular casino games such as slots, roulette, blackjack, and more on a gaming floor which takes up 83,500 sq ft.