Steve Ruddock California tribal casinos expand

Online poker legalization efforts are said to be on hold for 2017, which might help explain why no fewer than five tribal casinos in Southern California are updating and expanding their land-based casinos.

As the San Diego Union Tribune reported, Barona Resort & Casino, Harrah’s Resort Southern California (Rincon), Pechanga Resort & Casino, Sycuan Casino, and Viejas Casino & Resort are all in the midst renovation and expansion projects.

The largest of these endeavors is taking place at Pechanga Resort & Casino, where a $285 million expansion project recently passed the halfway mark.

Not far behind is Sycuan Casino, where a $226 million expansion project recently got underway.

Pechanga takes the ‘go big or go home’ approach

The first phase of the Pechanga tribe’s expansion project is already completed. It included a new logo and a 2,400-space, state-of-the-art parking garage.

“Completion of this garage marks an important milestone in the Pechanga resort expansion,” said Pechanga Development Corporation President Edith Atwood. “This facility replaces and adds to the parking that was displaced with the resort expansion. This new facility is geared with the latest state-of-the-art technology from way-finders to electric charging stations.”

However, the garage is only the opening act.

When the Pechanga Resort & Casino puts the finishing touches on its ongoing $285 million expansion project, it will become the largest hotel in California. The casino is more than doubling its total number of rooms. Pechanga will have 1,090 rooms when it completes the new hotel wing.

According to the tribe, more than 500 new jobs will be created by the expansion project.

When the project is completed, the Pechanga Casino will boast the following impressive statistics:

  • Casino square footage: 200,000
  • Event/Meeting/Convention square footage: 100,000 (indoor) 174,500 (outdoor)
  • Hotel rooms: 1,090
  • Restaurants: 13
  • Number of pools and spas: 13
  • Employees: 4,560
  • Other amenities: 2-level luxury spa, fitness center, championship 18-hole golf course, concert theater, nightlife, green roof

Sycuan tries to keep pace

The Sycuan Casino has come a long way since its days as a windowless bingo hall. The popular San Diego casino is already a full-fledged resort casino. And not to be outdone by Pechanga, the Sycuan tribe is now giving people 226 million more reasons to visit its property.

As California Online Poker detailed last month, a $226 million expansion project has been a long time in the making. But now that it’s gotten started, the Sycuan Casino will add a 300-room hotel, a sprawling outdoor pool and gardens complex, new dining and amenities, and more than 21,000 square feet of additional gaming space over the course of the next two years.

“We are very excited to offer our clientele a number of new amenities,” said Sycuan Casino General Manager John Dinius. “All of these non-gaming amenities have become important to not only offer a full-service resort experience for our guests, but also to stay competitive in this environment.”

A second expansion phase, which will add another hotel tower, is already in the planning stages. The timeline for Phase Two of the expansion project is still to be determined.

Steve Ruddock
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