The Soboba Casino, in San Jacinto, California, in Riverside County, has been serving the people of Southern California off and on for over 30 years now.
Even though Indian gaming wasn’t legal back when they first started all this, the Soboba Indians didn’t care, and it was defiance from California Indian tribes that started the whole movement toward the widespread Indian gaming we see today, after they tried to shut it down and the Supreme Court ultimately ruled they could not as this violated the rights of sovereignty of the Indian tribes.
Prior to all this being decided, the Soboba Indians at least attempted to exercise their sovereignty, building their first high stakes bingo hall back in 1984. $2 million was spent building this and the people of the area were excited, but they didn’t need any help from the state closing it down, as the enterprise didn’t fare very well.
The bingo hall was opened and closed so many times during this period that tribal officials claim they lost count of how many startups they went through. Finally, in 1995, they finally succeeded in keeping it open, after adding other forms of gambling besides just bingo, with a full fledged casino to go along with it.
This became a big hit among the locals, and this is in an area with a huge population, laying just east of Riverside and the huge Inland Empire of Southern California. It’s also only a short drive away from Los Angeles and players from all over the region could easily make a day trip of it.
San Jacinto is a far cry from the urbanized centers of the area though and provides a nice getaway from the city, with its mountains and lush landscape, and there is some good potential for building a resort here, as some other Indian casinos in the area have done.
However, the goal of the Soboba Casino is to just cater to the locals by providing some great gambling, there isn’t even a hotel on site, it’s just a casino, but a good one and one that players have come to really love.
This casino started out quite small and has been expanded numerous times over the over 20 years it’s been in existence, and there are no plans on stopping now. In fact, the tribe has some very ambitious plans indeed, where they are now talking about not only building a resort, but expanding the casino significantly, to make it one of the world’s largest.
They certainly have some big ideas and in a few years we may look back at the present casino and marvel at how much it has grown since. The Soboba people certainly have the desire to deliver on these promises though and they certainly have the nearby population base to make this a truly world class casino resort one day. For now though it’s just a great place to travel to in order to get in some great casino action.
The Features of the Soboba Casino
Soboba Casino doesn’t have a lot of dining options, this is as pure of a casino as you can get really, but they do have 2 different restaurants to grab a meal at while you are enjoying all of their casino action.
The Soboba Café is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and features some very nicely priced meals. They run a blue plate special with a different one every day for only $3.99. On Sundays from 4 PM to 10 PM you can enjoy their Prime Rib Special for only $13.95.
For lighter fare, there’s also a coffee shop on site, the Coffee Kiicha, with fresh coffee and freshly baked pastries on hand, as well as pizza, yogurt parfaits, and a variety of cold drinks and shakes.
For entertainment, AC’s Lounge seats up to 300 and has a full cocktail bar. They also have a giant screen TV and a state of the art sound system, and brings in an assortment of DJ’s as well as some live musical acts.
There’s also a large outdoor venue which features live acts, the Soboba Events Arena, with seating for 10,000 people. This is large enough to bring in the biggest names on the casino circuit.
Players here get free membership into Club Soboba, where everyone qualifies for the gold card, and if you are a big enough player, you can get the red card which offers true VIP treatment, including a personal casino host, valet parking, and complimentary dining and golf at the nearby Country Club at Soboba Springs.
All members get free play as well as discounts at the restaurants, gift shop, and at events. You can also get exclusive invitations to Club Soboba events regardless of which card you have.
Soboba also runs many promotions, and this is a big part of the appeal of the place, keeping players coming back time and again. This is really like a locals casino, there’s no hotel or resort, they don’t get any tourists, and all their players are from the area and need to be kept happy or they will just go to one of the other big casinos nearby. The Soboba more than holds its own with player retention though.
The Soboba Casino Experience
California casinos are generally capped off at 2,000 slots, according to the pact that most of them have with the state of California, and while there are a few that have a few more, Soboba has stuck with the pact, but they do have the maximum of 2,000 slot and gaming machines on hand for your playing pleasure.
They do get to pick the 2,000 that they want though, and the Soboba tribe has selected the latest and most popular slot and video poker machines in the market, to ensure that their players get maximum satisfaction during their stay with them.
Those who like jackpots are particularly well taken care of here, as they average 1,200 jackpot winners of $1000 or more every month. There’s also lots of slot tournaments and other slot promotions to get things even more interesting for their players.
Table game lovers will find 20 gaming tables on site here, which isn’t a lot but there’s no problem getting all the action you want at several popular casino table games, including double deck Blackjack, Ultimate Texas Holdem, Three Card Poker, Spanish 21, Fortune Pai Gow, and Roulette. There are also tournaments for table game players here as well.
They also have an online casino offering free play to whet your appetite a little for the real action at the casino, although there’s no substitute for the thrills of playing casino games, slots, and video poker for real money.
Soboba Casino has been around for quite a while now and they have a lot of success to show for it, and if you are in the area, this is one of the better casinos around and have been named one of Southern California’s best casinos in fact.