The Best Casinos in Southern California

The Best Casinos in Southern California
The Best Casinos in Southern California
Southern California has numerous features that attract swarms of visitors---as well as locals---every year. Thanks to relaxed gambling laws and cooperation from local Native American tribes, one of the more popular attractions Southern California has to offer is gambling. Though there are some differences between gambling in California and gambling in Nevada, the numerous casinos can still provide hours of entertainment. If you're planning a visit to Southern California, you won't want to miss these three casinos. They provide some of the best gambling options and have many other activities to offer due to their amenities and locations.

Owned by the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, Pechanga resort and Casino's gaming area is 188,000 square feet of slot machines and table games that could rival Vegas. They have Blackjack, Pai Gow, Mini Baccarat, Three-Card Poker and Pechanga Craps, which is like regular Craps, but they use two playing cards instead of dice (this is due to a law that forbids dice in California). Aside from this difference, the rules are the same. As far as slot machines go, Pechanga has all the same games and themes that you would see in Vegas, including a High Roller slot area. There are also poker rooms that are used for a monthly poker tournament. Pechanga is also a great place to visit due to its proximity to Temecula's wine country, which contains numerous tasting rooms, vineyards, and spas and resorts that can be a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the casino. In February 2009, Pechanga hosted wineries throughout Southern California at its first annual Pechanga Wine Festival, which allowed participants to sample more than 100 wines.


Morongo Casino Resort and Spa boasts a gaming room floor that is 150,000 square feet. It has 2,000 slot machines that range from penny slots to machines that are $100 a pull. They also have the traditional lever-pull slot machines, as well as the newer video machines. Video poker is one of the hottest machines at the casino, and plays start as low as 5 cents per credit, making it affordable for everyone. They have Blackjack, Pai Gow, Four- and Three-Card Poker, EZ Baccarat and Morongo Craps California-Style, which also utilizes playing cards instead of dice in the standard game of Craps. They also have a Poker and Bingo room, which is open Wednesday through Sunday. If you want to venture away from the casino, the Cabazon Outlets are just down the street and feature a variety of shops including Oakley, Puma and Guess.


Harrah's Rincon Casino has 1,600 slot machines and 60 table games, which include Blackjack, Let it Ride, Pai Gow, Three-Card Poker, Mini Baccarat, Super Fun 21, which is a version of Blackjack, and Boston Five Stud Poker, which is a version of Texas Hold'em Poker. They also have their own version of California-style Craps called Rincon Craps, along with their own style of Roulette, called Volcanic Roulette Bingo. One advantage Harrah's has over other California casinos is that its players' club, called Total Rewards, can be used throughout the Harrah's network of 40 casinos nationwide, including nearby casinos in Las Vegas, Laughlin and Lake Tahoe. Harrah's Rincon also features a spacious pool area and a bar-side fire pit that's perfect for nighttime.

Nellie Day is a freelance writer based out of Hermosa Beach, CA. She has her Master's degree in broadcast journalism from USC, and Bachelors' degrees in English and sociology from UC Irvine. Ms. Day's work can regularly be seen on newsstands, where her specialties include weddings, pets, real estate, electronics, product reviews, business, architecture and design, Southern California, food and wine, and travel and tourism.

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