By Steve Beauregard
There are 24 casinos in Southern California.
But while SoCal has 22 million people and roughly 60% of the state’s population, it’s home to just 39% of the state’s casinos.
There are a total of 62 casinos in California: 38 in Northern California, and 24 in Southern California, which we consider to be the ten most southern counties in the state.
The Morongo is one of 24 casinos in Southern California
To be more specific, we’re only count Southern California casinos to be ones that are south of Bakersfield.
We’re also only counting the more traditional, Indian casinos.
We say this because in addition to the 24 casinos in Southern California, there are numerous card rooms. Many of these even have the word “casino” in their name. However per California Gaming Control Board regulations, they are not allowed to have slot machines, craps, etc.
These 24 Indian casinos are all on tribal land, and they run the gamut from small joints to massive resorts.
(Here’s a map showing you each of the 24 Southern California casinos)
The Cahuilla Casino, in Anza, for example, is mostly a large pre-fabricated tent. It has just a few hundred slot machines and zero table games, whereas many other casinos closer to L.A. and San Diego have over 2,000 slot machines, over 100 table games in beautiful resort buildings that aren’t made of tents.
Harrah’s Southern California
In fact, two Southern California casinos, the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino, and Pechanga Resort & Casino, are two of the top ten biggest casinos in the United States. Both have over 3,800 slot machines.
If not in the top ten, many of Southern California’s other casinos are at least, decent sized casinos, with lots of offerings.
By my count, 8 of the 24 casinos have at least 2,000 slot machines/video poker machines. To put that in perspective, the MGM Grand, Aria, and Bellagio each have less than 2,000 gaming machines. In other words, one-third of the casinos in Southern California are bigger than the biggest, fanciest casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.
For example, the Golden Acorn Casino & Travel Center off of Interstate 8 has a name that implies it’s nothing more than a truck stop with a few slots. However a look inside reveals it has a nice décor, table games, and 750 slot machines!
Even casinos out in the middle of nowhere are decent-sized. The Tortoise Rock Casino outside of Twentynine Palms, for example, is smack dab in the middle of the desert, yet it has 490 slot machines, table games, concerts and more.
Many of these casinos however are located close to urban areas, and therefore have large casino footprints.
And while these 24 casinos are spread throughout the region, from the bottom corner of the California/Arizona border to just north of Santa Barbara, they mostly tend to be concentrated in certain areas. For example, there are ten casinos near San Diego, (or at least within an hour’s drive).
Similarly, there are six casinos scattered around Palm Springs.
List of Southern California Casinos
Here are all 24 casinos in Southern California and their respective city:
Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa – Rancho Mirage
Augustine Casino – Coachella
Barona Resort & Casino – Lakeside
Cahuilla Casino – Anza
Casino Pauma – Pauma Valley
Chumash Casino Resort – Santa Ynez
Fantasy Springs Resort Casino – Indio
Golden Acorn Casino & Travel Center – Campo
Harrah’s Resort Southern California – Valley Center
Havasu Landing Resort & Casino – Havasu Lake
Hollywood Casino Jamul San Diego – Jamul
Morongo Casino Resort & Spa – Cabazon
Pechanga Resort & Casino – Temecula
Pala Casino Spa Resort – Pala
Quechan Casino Resort – Winterhaven
Red Earth Casino – Salton Sea Beach
San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino – Highland
Soboba Casino – San Jacinto
Spa Resort Casino – Palm Springs
Spotlight 29 Casino – Coachella
Sycuan Casino & Resort -El Cajon
Tortoise Rock Casino – Twentynine Palms
Valley View Casino & Hotel – Valley Center
Viejas Casino and Resort Viejas – Alpine
We can expect the Southern California casino market to only get bigger. The $400 million dollar Hollywood Casino Jamul near San Diego opened in December 2016, adding 1,700 slot machines and 40 table games to the busy Sand Diego casino market. Several other SoCal casinos plan expansions.
The Sycuan Casino, for example, announced they are building a 300 hotel room addition, along with adding 2,000 more parking spaces, and 21,000 more square feet of gaming floor space.
Harrah’s Southern California is undergoing a $14 million dollar expansion, while Pechanga, meanwhile, is in the midst of their own massive hotel and resort expansion that will make one of the nation’s biggest casinos even larger.