There are over a dozen casinos in the San Diego area, all run by various Indian tribes in the area, but the folks at the Sycuan Casino in nearby El Cajon, just east of San Diego, claim that their casino is the friendliest in the area.
They certainly are keen on marketing it aggressively though and they have enlisted the help of several celebrities in their latest campaign to attract more casino business in this city of 3 million people.
Sycuan Casino is owned and operated by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, on their reservation just east of the city of El Cajon and it’s roughly 100,000 people. They attract players from all over the greater San Diego area though who come here to experience some of the best casino action around.
The Sycuan Band first got into gaming back in 1983 with the opening of the Syucan Bingo Hall, back in the days when the state wasn’t keen on Indian tribes offering gambling, even bingo. In the end the state government couldn’t stop them though as the sovereignty of these tribes to offer gambling became recognized by both the Supreme Court and the U.S. Congress.
The bingo hall ended up growing into a casino, and one of the largest in the area in fact. While it doesn’t have a hotel and relies solely on walk up traffic to fill it, it was successful enough to allow the Sycuan Band to build a golf resort nearby, as well as buy the historic U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego.
So things have gone very well for the band thus far, but they aren’t satisfied, and are looking to grow their ventures even more, including growing their casino business. They claim to be the friendliest casino in San Diego and work hard on maintaining this image, to the delight of their players, who just keep coming.
The Features of the Sycuan Casino
In addition to their large casino, the Sycuan Casino also has 5 restaurants to take care of all of your dining needs. While the average stay here is just four hours, many guests do grab a meal while they are here, and the food here is well worth grabbing.
Paipa’s Buffet is the headliner here, and the most popular, and a lot of casino goers really enjoy the buffets and this casino is no exception. The prices here aren’t quite as enticing as you would see at some Las Vegas buffets, but the food is great and the contemporary décor is certainly impressive looking.
Regular prices for the buffet are $17.95 a person for lunch, and $26.95 for brunch and dinner, but club members and their guests receive a discount, 10% for gold card members, 20% for platinum card holders, 50% for elite members, and 100% for diamond members, who get 2 free buffets a day.
There are over 100 fresh items on hand including prime rib, plenty of seafood, and specialty international dishes as well.
Wachena is both a restaurant and bar, and also features a dazzling décor. The menu here is varied, from choice beef to creative pasta dishes to sandwiches and burgers, and you can also enjoy your favorite cocktails in the lounge area, with table top video poker and sports viewing.
Gameday Sports Bar is the official sports bar of basketball legend Bill Walton, and features 39 large screen TV’s, 32 different beers, and a full selection of cocktails. You can order Mexican, grab a burger, or enjoy their extensive appetizer selection while watching the game and checking out their collection of local sports memorabilia.
The Sunset Deli serves up deli sandwiches, pizza, cheesecake and pastries, and more. The Double Down Grill is a great spot to grab a burger just steps from the bingo hall.
You can also catch live acts several times a month here, featuring concerts and comedy acts at the Live Up and Close Theater. They regularly attract some of the biggest name acts on the casino circuit. There’s also a gift shop on site where you can pick up Sycuan branded merchandise, sundries, and other gifts.
The Casino at the Sycuan Casino
The casino here features both a smoking and non smoking wing, with the non smoking one being a pretty large section with 750 slot machines on hand. You can also enjoy 1,250 more in the main casino area, and although smoking is permitted here, they use the latest and greatest in air filtration technology to ensure all of their guests can breathe easy.
The total slot machine and video poker machine is capped at 2,000 machines, per the pact that most Indian casinos in California have entered into with the state, and while this has limited the expansion of the bigger California Indian casinos like the Sycuan, 2,000 gaming machines are plenty and there’s certainly lots and lots of variety here.
There are penny slots here, nickel slots, quarter slots, dollar slots, or if you want to go even bigger, you can visit their Primrose Room which provides true VIP treatment and offers both high limit slots and high limit table games.
The staff here really is among of the friendliest you’ll ever see at a casino and if you are looking for help with anything, all you need to do is ask.
There are over 40 table games on hand here to enjoy, including Blackjack, Free Bet Blackjack, Spanish 21, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, EZ Baccarat, Double Hand Baccarat, and Fortune Pai Gow, along with card versions of both Craps and Roulette. The State of California doesn’t like gambling played with anything but cards but these versions come pretty close.
Live poker is big in California and the Sycuan Casino has a 17 table poker room on site to ensure that all poker lovers will have plenty of action to choose from. This is the largest poker room in the San Diego area and features not only Texas Holdem but Omaha and Seven Card Stud as well, in both cash and tournament formats.
Bingo is where it all started here back in 1983 and it’s still going strong at the Sycuan Casino all these years later, with 5 bingo sessions per day. They feature several buy in levels and you can even get a free breakfast just for playing one of their weekend matinee bingo sessions.
This is certainly one of the best casinos in the San Diego area and if you live there or are planning on visiting, and are looking for some great casino action, the Sycuan Casino is well worth a visit.