In spite of California being one of the most liberal states in the country toward gambling, and it being the poker capital of the United States with its many cardrooms, the state has been far more reluctant toward allowing full blown casinos.
This is where the major battle was fought as far as states looking to prevent Indian tribes from operating casinos, and when the State of California looked to shut down the gaming operations of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, the Band sued the state, and won.
This led to federal legislation being passed, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, opening the door for all of the Indian gaming we see today.
California still stands firm in their opposition to casinos, but in spite of this, there are a lot of Indian casinos in the state, most of them small, but small is not a word that would be used to describe the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula.
This is the largest casino in California and one of the largest in the country. It would be the largest casino in Nevada as well if it were located there, to give you an idea of the size we are talking about here.
It is conveniently located only a relatively short drive from Los Angeles, in Temecula, a city which has grown by leaps and bounds lately, from 27,000 people in 1990 to 110,000 today. So in addition to all of the amenities that the resort casino offers, guests can also take advantage of everything this good sized city offers.
This is wine country, so this is more than just a drive outside the city to visit a gambling resort, especially if you love wine.
The resort casino is owned by the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, and the $260 million facility opened in 2002. This was quite a bit cheaper to build than some other large casinos in the country, but the main feature here is their 188,000 square foot casino, and the size of the hotel here is more modest, but they do get quite a bit of drive up traffic here so there’s no need for a huge hotel like you see at some of the bigger Vegas casinos.
Pechanga Resort and Casino was a big hit, and their success allowed them to expand the place by 100,000 square feet just two years after it was opened. The resort celebrates the culture of the Indians here but it’s also very much attuned to the needs of their guests and has plenty to offer indeed overall.
Visiting The Pechanga Resort and Casino
Just an hour and a half away from Los Angeles by car, via Interstate 15, and only an hour’s drive north from San Diego, the Pechanga Resort and Casino is within easy reach of a whole lot of people, and being the pinnacle of California casinos, it definitely attracts a lot of visitors.
They also offer shuttles from various locations in Southern California to make getting here even easier. Should you decide to stay a while, the Pechanga does have a 517 room hotel to take advantage of, including 64 suites.
This might only be a modestly sized hotel as far as casino hotels go, but it is mighty. It was won the coveted AAA four diamond award every year since 2002 when it was built.
The accommodations here start with their generously sized 500 square foot deluxe rooms, with a choice of either a California King or two queen beds. You can also select the Spa Studio with a whirlpool bath for two. Suites are also available with either one or two bedrooms.
The accommodations here are nice and are tastefully decorated with some great views as well, and all come with state of the art amenities.
The food here is uncompromising, starting with the Great Oak Steakhouse featuring award winning chef Martin Venegas. The Umi Sushi and Oyster Bar also offers a fine dining experience specializing in seafood.
Lovers of Italian food will find some great selections at Paisano’s, and Journey’s End also offers upscale dining options for those who prefer something a little more creative than your standard restaurant.
Buffets are always very popular at casinos and the Pechanga doesn’t disappoint here, with a buffet restaurant featuring 250 fresh options, with a wide variety to please everyone’s particular tastes.
There are four different options for more casual dining, including the pub experience and great food of Kelsey’s Bar and Grill. There’s also a café as well as two different Asian themed dining options.
Those looking for a quick bite here will find some very good choices, fast food that still brims with the same quality that the more traditional restaurants at Pechanga offer. There’s one specializing in hamburgers, a Mexican restaurant, one serving Italian, an Asian quick bites venue, a fried chicken place, a coffee shop, and a coffee and wine bar.
24 hour room service is also available.
The 1200 seat Pechanga Showroom Theater features regular live acts, many of which are household names. There’s also a comedy club, a cabaret lounge, and the Eagles Nest Lounge on the top floor.
The Spa Pechanga offers full spa services including a salon. The Pechanga Resort and Hotel also features an award winning golf course on site, which is one of the resort’s biggest attractions. There is also an upscale RV park and lots of space for meetings and conventions.
The Casino At Pechanga
The gaming is of course the main attraction here and they definitely have lots of that. 3,800 slot and video poker machines await you. There is everything a slot and video poker player could want here, from the classics to the latest, all using the latest technology.
There are also 140 table games here, with a wide variety of games offered, and they also have the most double deck Blackjack and the most mystery card Roulette in California.
They also feature Craps, Three Card Poker, Let It Ride, Pai Gow Poker, Emperor‘s Challenge Pai Gow, Progressive Fortune Pai Gow, Ultimate Texas Holdem, and EZ Baccarat.
There’s also a 47 table poker room, featuring both cash and regular tournaments, as well as private tables, and is open 24 hours a day.
There’s also a 700 seat bingo hall. Pechanga also has a separate high limit area and also offers private gaming rooms.
The Club at Pechanga rewards players for all their play here and ensures that everyone will reap the benefits of their VIP service.
This is an impressive resort indeed. If you are in Southern California or planning on visiting, and like to gamble or are just looking for a getaway, the Pechanga Resort and Casino has a lot to offer you.