57 distinct Native American tribes operate 58 California Indian Casinos. How successful they are is apparent from the fact that last year, all the casinos in the US put together raked in $ 26.5 billion. It’s fair to say that gaming is a massive industry now.
It has grown pretty quick too. It was barely 20 odd years ago that the tribes were bickering with California over whether it was legal. The 1987 California vs Cabazon judgment won the tribes their right to open casinos outside of state regulations.
Just one year later, Congress passed the IGRA in 1988. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act forced the tribes to agree to have their casinos subject to regulation and state rules about what kind of games would be allowed. But the tribes still take home all the money.
As for the Indian casinos in California, they’re spread pretty evenly across Northern California and SoCal, with the remaining dotted around Central CA. These 58 casinos put together have 63,835 slot machines and more are in the pipeline. As of now, 10 more casinos are slated to add to the existing lot of 58.
San Diego is the mecca of Indian Gaming, just as Vegas is for non-Indian casinos. At last count, San Diego County had 12 casinos such as La Jolla Trading Post in Pauma Valley, the Viejas casino in Alpine, and Harrah’s Rincon Casino in Valley Center. Out of the 10 new casinos being planned in California, many will be opening in San Diego.
There’s a lot of scope for interpretation, when it comes to admission rules for these casinos. Most serve alcohol so they usually stick to not allowing Patrons below age 21 to play. That said, most allow kids to come in because many accompany parents when a family or group visits the casino as a tourist attraction. Still, it’s better to cross-check the rules for each casino before attempting to visit, in case there’s a minor in the group.
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