The Chukchansi Indians of central California certainly have the right name for a tribe that offers gambling, as in chuck-chancy, and the fact that they are located in Coarsegold, California, further adds to the fitting nature of their name and location for a casino.
Coarsegold got its name from back in the California Gold Rush days, and there was plenty of gold to be found in this area, coarse nuggets of gold that was discovered in a nearby creek. When word got out about this, this brought a lot of prospectors to the area of course, much like the casino brings a lot of casino prospectors to this otherwise isolated area of California these days.
Coarsegold is also on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park, and on the way there from Fresno, less than 45 minutes drive north of the city. The Fresno area is home to about a million people these days, and it also is known as one of the most polluted cities in the United States, so lots of them come up to enjoy the much cleaner air in this more pristine part of the state.
The Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino is owned and operated by the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians which live on their reservation here. It is home to a population of around 1200 Indians these days, who have seen their fortunes and the fortunes of their tribe increase significantly over the last few years due to the success of this resort casino.
So while visitors come here to seek gold, it’s been an even bigger gold rush for the Indians, and to show just how successful it has been, the tribe recently bought the naming rights of the ball park in Fresno for $16 million, and the Fresno Grizzlies now play at Chukchansi Park.
The resort casino opened in 2003, and was built at an initial cost of $150 million. Things haven’t gone as smoothly as the tribe would have liked, and there has been some infighting among them, spurred in large part by the tribe disenfranchising a lot of its members to not have to spread the wealth around as much.
Initially there were 1800 recognized members, and this got cut down to only 900, and many who were left out became unhappy. In 2014, the casino was taken over by an armed faction of the tribe, and ended up being closed down for over a year as a result.
New leadership was eventually put in place though and the casino reopened in December, 2015, and things have settled down and the resort is now prosperous again. The casino here is on the smaller side compared to many larger Indian casinos in California, but they still offer plenty of action as well as a full resort experience to guests, where they can enjoy some great nature and scenery at the same time.
The Resort at the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino
There are a lot of properties that list themselves as resorts and casinos, or casinos and resorts, and often you can tell where the bigger focus is by the way they list them. With this property, resort is listed first and casino second, and this is more of a resort than a casino so that is fitting.
The hotel here boasts over 400 rooms and while it’s not really that far from a big city, and Fresno is indeed a big city, one of the top 30 largest cities in the U.S., the main idea in coming here is to get away from all that, for an extended period of time, and not just drive up for a few hours.
So the hotel is larger than you see at casinos of this modest size of 54,000 square feet of gaming space, and there are much larger casinos that don’t have anywhere near this many hotel rooms. Coming to the Chukchansi Gold is really all about the experience though and they do offer a very good one.
The room selections here include a deluxe room with either a king or two queen beds, a deluxe Jacuzzi room, Picayune King Suite, or a Chukchansi King Suite. These are nicely decorated rooms and the suites all come with complimentary robe and slippers. A personal safe is provided in all rooms to protect your valuables.
The Serenity Springs Spa will cater to all of your salon and spa needs, and ensure that your stay with them will be both relaxing and rejuvenating.
The Gallery Boutique showcases an array of Native American made art, and you can also pick up tickets to their events here. The Gift Shop provides an outlet where you can redeem your frequent player points for the merchandise they have on display here.
There’s also an indoor/outdoor pool on hand where you can enjoy a swim or just relax poolside with your favorite drinks, or in one of their cabanas.
There’s also a 24 hour fitness center on hand to give you a good workout, as well as a family entertainment center with an arcade.
There are several dining options on hand here, with award winning cuisine to please every palate. The California Market Buffet specializes in cuisine from around their region of the state, with the freshest ingredients, although their menu here is quite varied and suited to please everyone.
Goldfield’s Café is set in a mining camp style décor although the food here is way better than you’d ever get in any mining camp. It features generous helpings of wholesome food with no reservation required.
The Noodle Bar takes care of all of your Asian food cravings. Those who desire a more upscale setting will really enjoy the Vintage Steakhouse and its perfectly cooked meats. The Mountain View Café is a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee, and the Bakery will tempt you with its many pastry selections, as well as light meals such as sandwiches and hot dogs.
There are 3 bars on hand when you’re just looking to relax and grab a drink. The 200 seat Firehouse Lounge also offers live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night, featuring a variety of acts, including some big names from the past.
The Casino at the Chukchansi Gold
They really roll out the promotions here and there’s always lots going on as far as specials and giveaways go. It all starts with getting your membership in the Chukchansi Rewards Club, which you want to do as soon as you arrive because this is how you get rewarded.
There are over 1,700 of the hottest slots around here and they also give away quite a few slot jackpots for a casino of this modest size. They also roll out quite a few slot tournaments to make slot playing even more fun. Plenty of video poker machines are also on hand to keep those who enjoy video poker happy.
In the table games area, you will find 36 gaming tables, and together with their 1,700 slots, this might be a smaller size casino floor by area but there’s plenty of gaming machines and tables packed into it.
Table game lovers here can select from 13 different types of table games, which is a huge number, especially with California casinos whose games are limited to those playable with cards.
You can choose from Blackjack, Mississippi Stud, Crazy 4 Poker, Mini/Midi Baccarat, Dragon Bonus, Mystery Card Roulette, Fortune Pai Gow, Spanish 21, Match The Dealer Up/Down, Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Holdem, Three Card Poker Six Card Bonus, and Pai Gow Poker.
The Chukchansi are particularly proud of their generous rewards program and encourage you to present your card each time you play here to ensure that you rack up plenty of rewards, which will have you leaving happy and much more likely to come back.
More than anything, the great vistas at the foot of the Sierra Mountains is something that players here particularly enjoy, as well as the great hospitality here. You can continue on to Yosemite National Park if you wish, but you can’t gamble there, and you sure can here, so this may be the best of both worlds.