The greater Los Angeles area has 5 counties, 18 million people, 503 square miles of land, and one casino.
To clarify, we’re talking about casinos with slot machines.
There are several nearby cardrooms in Los Angeles, however they are just cardrooms only. What makes it confusing is that many of these cardrooms have the word “casino” in their name.
However we’re just focusing here on the closest more traditional casino to L.A. – one with slots, craps, and the like. Per California law, cardrooms are different entities, are not allowed to have slot machines, video poker machines, or craps and roulette.
That being the case, there is one casino near Los Angeles.
It’s the spacious Yaamava’ Resort & Casino (formerly the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino), east of L.A. in Highland, in San Bernardino County. It’s an Indian casino on tribal land situated sixty-three miles due east of downtown Los Angeles.
(The red star in the map below represents the Yaamava Resort & Casino, while the yellow star represents the Pechanga Resort & Casino)
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino (Red star on map)
With 6,500 slot machines, 123 plus table games, and 290,000 square feet of casino floor space, Yaamava is one of the largest casinos in the United States, and the biggest of the 25 casinos in Southern California.
There are some quirks with tribal gaming. Although the casino is open 24 hours a day, alcohol service stops at 1:15 AM. In addition, the craps game that runs during normal times is card-based, rather than determined by a dice toss (although the odds are the same). There is no longer a poker room here either.
Among the array of 6,500 slots are seemingly every machine you’d want to play: mechanical reels games, video reels, progressives and more. Among these are Blazin’ Gems, Buffalo gold, Colossal Diamonds, Dragon Link, Dollar Storm, Monopoly Money Grab, and more.
In addition to all the video poker machines at bar tops, Yaamava spreads 200 video poker machines on the casino floor.
“The Vault,” on the second level is one of five high-limit rooms, and has an entrance that looks something out of a starship from a Star Wars movie. It boasts a bar and 18,000 square feet – more than many casinos! There’s an even more exclusive, private high-limit room with private entries so that the high-roller or celebrity won’t get photographed by the rest of us mere mortals.
Table game options include tons of black jack tables (and many variants like Blazing 7’s), pai gow, EZ Baccarat, Three-card poker, and electronic versions of many table games. In normal times, roulette and California card craps games run.
Yaamava Casino Hotel Restaurants & Bars
With over 8 million visitors a year, you can imagine the restaurant demand here. Yaamava satisfies this demand with seven restaurants (not including the food court).
These include Hong Bao Kitchen, The Pines Modern Steakhouse, the always busy and popular Serrano Vista Cafe, Just Barbecue, and Rock & Brews, (among others). The popular Serrano Buffet re-opened in December 2021 after being closed since the start of Covid.
TuTu’s Food Court, has seating for 140, and gives you quick bite options from burgers to pizza to the Thai Chi Express Asian fusion to a grab and go bakery option.
You’ll find eight bars scattered throughout the property – most with table top games. Alcohol is only available from 5 PM to 1:15 AM on weekdays, and from 8 AM to 1:15 AM on Saturday and Sundays.
Also opening in December 2021 was the Yaamava’s brand new 432 room, 17 story hotel tower.
The new tower was part of the resort’s massive $760 million dollar that, (in addition to the hotel), included an expansive pool complex, spa, shopping, and a 2,200 seat entertainment venue.
Unlike at many Las Vegas Strip properties, parking at the Yaamava is free at all of their 5,600 parking spaces.
Yaamava Resort Casino Address, Phone & Website
777 San Manuel Boulevard
Highland, CA 92346
Phone: (800) 359-2464
The Yaamava Resort & Casino at San Manuel is the closest casino with slot machines to the vast majority of towns in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.
However there are two other casinos within a 100 mile radius of downtown Los Angeles.
Cities well to the south (Mission Viejo), or to the north (Oxnard), do have some closer options, which we’ll cover below.
Pechanga Resort and Casino (yellow star)
For the vast majority of L.A. area communities, the second closest big casino is Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula.
Having recently completed a $300 million dollar expansion, Pechanga now has 5,000 slot machines, 158 table games, a 38 table poker room and spacious bingo hall with room for 700 players.
All total, there is 188,000 square feet of casino floor space, and just over 1,000 hotel rooms. There is the requisite spa and a pretty 4 1/2 acre swimming pool complex with cabanas and a swim-up bar.
This beautiful-looking resort is a good 90 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.
For many gamblers however, especially those in more southern L.A. cities, the difference in driving distance between San Manuel and Pechanga is just an extra ten or so miles each way.
Soboba Casino (black star)
The Soboba Casino in San Jacinto is another option.
Opened in February 2019, the revamped casino-hotel replaces the tribe’s original small tent casino, which opened in 1995.
Along with 200 hotel rooms, the new resort has a big pool area, golf course, and 15,000 square foot events center. There are six restaurants, not including four fast-casual dining options at their upscale food court area.
The casino itself has 140,000 square feet of gaming space, in which you’ll find 2,000 slots, along with 32 table games.
Cardrooms in Los Angeles
As mentioned above, while there is only one casino close to L.A., there are several cardrooms in the area. These businesses mostly cater to poker players, however most have California blackjack games, along with other table games.
In fact, there are seven active cardrooms within a 20 mile radius of downtown Los Angeles. There are 70 active cardrooms in all of California.
The largest of these, L.A. area cardrooms, The Commerce Casino in Commerce, has 270 tables. This blows away the number of table games found at more traditional casinos in California, and Las Vegas, for that matter. Again, these cardrooms do not have slot machines.
(Each colored star represents one of the seven cardrooms in the L.A. area)
Here are the distances from downtown L.A. to the cardrooms:
- Bicycle Hotel & Casino (Bell Gardens, CA.) – 10 miles
- Commerce Casino (Commerce) – 8 miles
- Crystal Casino (Compton) – 17 miles
- The Gardens Casino (Hawaiian Gardens) – 21 miles
- Hollywood Park Casino (Inglewood) – 12 miles
- Hustler Casino (Gardena) – 13 miles
- Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady Casino (Gardena) – 12 miles
Distances from Los Angeles area cities to their closest casino
So while there are 66 casinos in California, just two of them are near Los Angeles.
Below are the distances from L.A. area cities to the Yaamava’ Resort Casino (first number), and Pechanga Resort & Casino (second figure).
- Anaheim: 56 miles – 66 miles
- Burbank: 67 miles – 98 miles
- Carson: 79 miles – 89 miles
- Compton: 71 miles – 83 miles
- Corona: 35 miles – 42 miles
- Costa Mesa: 65 miles – 74 miles
- Downey: 64 miles – 81 miles
- El Monte: 52 miles – 76 miles
- Fullerton: 58 miles – 66 miles
- Garden Grove: 61 miles – 71 miles
- Glendale: 63 miles – 94 miles
- Huntington Beach: 70 miles – 79 miles
- Inglewood: 79 miles – 95 miles
- Irvine: 58 miles – 67 miles
- Lancaster: 95 miles – 144 miles
- Long Beach: 77 miles – 88 miles
- Mission Viejo: 64 miles – 59 miles
- Moreno Valley – 27 miles *
- Newport Beach: 67 miles – 76 miles
- Norwalk: 64 miles – 75 miles
- Ontario: 29 miles – 59 miles
- Orange: 54 miles – 64 miles
- Palmdale: 84 miles – 132 miles
- Pasadena: 56 miles – 86 miles
- Pomona: 37 miles – 61 miles
- Riverside: 23 miles – 47 miles
- Santa Ana: 58 miles – 68 miles
- Santa Clarita: 89 miles – 119 miles **
- Santa Monica: 81 miles – 103 miles
- Torrance: 83 miles – 92 miles
- Tustin: 56 miles – 66 miles
- West Covina: 47 miles – 71 miles
* The closest casino to Moreno Valley is the Soboba Casino, at just 23 miles away.
**The 2nd closest casino to Santa Clarita is the Chumash Casino, at 108 miles away.
Closest Casino for Cities North of L.A.
For towns just north of Los Angeles, there is a closer option.
It’s the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez.
This 320 room resort is real Vegas-style casino, and has 115,000 square feet of casino floor space, in which you’ll find 2,300 slot machines, a bingo hall, and 45 table games, (not including their 12 table poker room.)
Below are distances to the Chumash Casino from various cities:
Oxnard – 68 miles
Santa Barbara – 31 miles
Simi Valley – 94 miles (versus 98 miles to the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino)
Thousand Oaks – 86 miles
Ventura – 63 miles
Yaamava’ Resort Casino FAQ
(By Steve Beauregard. Photos courtesy of Steven Robles of the Yaamava and from each respective casino).