The Morongo Casino Resort and Spa is one of California’s largest Indian Casinos, located in Cabazon, California, in Riverside county and part of the Inland Empire of 4.2 million people just east of the Los Angeles area, comprising the metropolitan regions of the cities of Riverside, Ontario, and San Bernardino.
There is quite a bit of Indian gaming in this region, and there’s a lot of competition for the gambling dollars here, but the Morongo stands out both in terms of quantity and quality, both being one of the largest and one of the highest rated.
The Morongo Casino Resort and Spa features a 150,000 square foot casino floor, making it larger than most Las Vegas casinos, and also is one of only four resorts in California to earn the prestigious four diamond award from AAA. It’s 27 floor structure really stands out as well and is the tallest in the Inland Empire.
The casino resort is owned by the Morongo Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians, and is situated on the Morongo Indian Reservation in Cabazon, halfway between Riverside and Palm Springs, California. Cabazon is a small town of about 2,500 people famous for both its exhibit of the world’s largest dinosaur sculptures and its gambling.
The Morongo Indians got in on the ground floor of Indian gaming back in the 1980’s, and together with a sister tribe, defied California law at the time by operating gaming on their reservations. The county and state sought to shut this down, but the tribes fought back in court.
In the landmark case of Indian gaming in the U.S., California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, in which the Morongo Indians were a party to, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Indians and this set in motion the Indian gaming landscape we see today.
A year later, Congress passed a law allowing for Indians to offer gambling under provisions of their sovereignty, and today Indian gaming represents a significant portion of the overall casino market in the U.S., especially in states like California who still refuse to issue licenses for it.
California has permitted licensed cardrooms for many years though, although non card related gambling is the sole province of the Indian tribes since they are not subject to state regulation.
Still though, the Indians have been willing to compromise, for instance they have entered into pacts where only card table games are offered, and this has resulted in several non card games such as craps and roulette being modified to be played with a deck of cards instead of a wheel or dice.
The Accommodations at the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa
Most of the traffic here is drive up, due to the great location of the property within easy driving distance for almost 20 million people, but it’s more than just a casino, it’s also a resort and they do get quite a few visitors that stay a while to enjoy the scenery and the amenities here.
The hotel is a four diamond property which means that you can expect that it is up to world class standards. The theme here is a retro 60’s look, which might sound a little drab but it’s quite tastefully done.
The cost of rooms here are fairly reasonable, and for $139 a night you can get a room and a buffet for two, and for $199 per night you get the room and the buffet plus a round of golf for two, with comparable dinner and spa packages also available.
The rooms here are nice and certainly in the category of luxurious, with beautiful furnishings, premium bathrooms, free wi-fi, fully stocked mini bar, in room safe, coffee maker, and 42 inch wall mounted TV.
Suites are also available, and you can even book one of their six exclusive casitas with their own private pools and VIP service and accommodations.
6 restaurants await you here to take care of all your dining wishes, including the Potrero Canyon Buffet with a great selection of buffet items, the Cielo Steakhouse serving the finest in steaks, the Café Serrano offering American cuisine, the poolside Sunset Bar and Grill, Mexican at Tacos and Tequila, Asian dishes at Natural 9 Noodle Company, and a food court with 4 different choices of quickly delivered meals.
On the entertainment side, the Morongo brings in the biggest acts on the casino circuit, featuring musical performances, comedy acts, the hottest DJs, and even boxing events. The Vibe club also features live performances as well as DJs on hand to keep you entertained.
The Drum Room is a beautifully decorated lounge for those seeking a more refined and upscale lounge experience, the MEBar delivers a very social atmosphere, and the Pit Bar lets you enjoy cocktails right on the casino floor.
The Sage Spa and Salon here offers a full selection of spa treatments with a Native American influence, and is regarded as one of the finest spas in all of Southern California. There’s also a pool area, a 36 hole world class golf course, a bowling alley, and over 130 retail shops nearby.
The Casino at the Morongo
The Morongo boldly proclaims that they have the best casino in California, and they may be right. It’s at least one of the best though, and their 150,000 square foot gaming area is packed with the loosest slots you’ll ever find as well as some nice table games.
The 2,600 slot and video gaming machines are the main attraction here, and this provides slot machine lovers with a bevy of great choices, with all the latest games, hundreds of progressive slot machines, and stakes that run from a penny to $100 a pull in their high limit slot area.
Smoking is permitted in California casinos but the Morongo also has a non smoking gambling area for those who prefer non smoking.
There are 74 gaming tables in total for those who enjoy table casino games, including popular ones like Blackjack, Baccarat, Fortune Pai Gow, 3 Card Poker, 4 Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Holdem. There’s also a high limit table area with tableside dining and premium bar service.
Those who enjoy playing poker will find a nice poker room here with both cash games and daily tournaments. This isn’t the biggest poker room around but offers a good selection of games including Holdem, Omaha, and 7 Card Stud in a smoke free environment.
Bingo is where this tribe started and it still figures prominently in their operation, with a 440 seat bingo hall boasting the best bingo in Southern California.
Like all good casinos, the Morongo also has a rewards program, where your free membership entitles you to immediate discounts at their restaurants, spa, and nightclub, in addition to rewarding you further for your play and your loyalty.
The Morongo Casino Resort and Spa is clearly one of Southern California’s premier destinations for gambling, and offer some very high quality accommodations and amenities as well.