Indian Casinos In California

Casino gambling in California is almost entirely done through Indian casinos, of which there are plenty for residents in California to enjoy. Gambling on lands owned by Native American tribes was legalized in the year of 2000 when Proposition 1A was passed in the state. Some of the state's most luxurious and high quality gambling destinations are owned and operated by respected Indian tribes in the Golden State, and they are responsible for the majority of the industry options available to California residents.

This page takes a look at the various aspects involved in tribal casino gambling, and how it affects CA players. For information on all brick and mortar destinations in the state (both Indian and non-tribal casinos), visit our page on casinos in California. For those of you who find that you cannot always visit a land based casino option, we have also included information about online California casinos.

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California Tribal State Compacts

Tribal state compacts are required by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, which is a federal law that requires the compact to be in place prior to allowing any Class III gaming on Indian reservations and associated lands. It is a business agreement between the Indian tribes and the state in which negotiations take place to ensure that the terms of the gambling operations are amicable for both parties.

These compacts provide business terms, and define the balance of power between state, federal and tribal governments. The compact is an agreement between the state and the Indian tribes, however it is regulated by the Federal government.

These compacts have, in effect, allowed for these Indian casinos in California to act as Class 3 gaming casinos, meaning that all types of gaming under Classes 1 and 2 are allowed inside. The exact rules of these compacts state that all card games can be played, such as Blackjack and Poker, while slot machines, video slots and bingo are also available. While most games are legal in Indian casinos, making the experience comparable to casinos that you would find in Las Vegas, Nevada, traditional craps and traditional roulette are still largely illegal, due to their usage of dice and a ball respectively.

However, these Indian casinos have made card-based versions of both of these games that are worth a try. Learn more about the legal status of casino gambling and specific games with our guide to understanding California gambling laws. You may also want to compare the game selection at brick and mortar casinos vs California online casinos through our California online casino games.

Where in California are Indian Casinos Located?

There are many different Indian casinos located all throughout California. In fact, 27 different counties all include at least one Indian casino that is located on tribal grounds. Riverside County and San Diego County are at the top of this list, with 10 and 11 casinos respectively spread throughout their tribal lands. Some of the most popular tribal casinos in all of California include the following destinations:

Lucky 7 Casino in Del Norte County

Hidden Oaks Casino in Mendocino County

Morongo Casino Resort in Riverside County

Harrah's Resort Southern California in San Diego County

No matter which part of California you are a resident of, you will have direct access to numerous Indian casinos to choose from.

Which Indian Tribes Participate in California Casino Gambling?

These Indian casinos are looked over by a plethora of different tribes. While each tribe has enacted different laws over their own lands for their people to abide by, the laws and rules that govern their casinos are largely the same among all tribes. Overall, there are 58 separate Indian tribes that run different casinos throughout all of California.

Only two tribes run multiple casinos in multiple counties. The best known of these tribes include the Pomo Indians of California and the Hoopa Valley Tribe. There was another casino that was run by the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel known as the Santa Ysabel Casino, but it closed down in early 2014.

Largest Indian Casino in California

The largest Indian casino in California is that of the Pechanga Resort and Casino, which resides in Riverside County. This casino plays host to well over 3,000 slot machines and a wealth of table games, as well as over 200,000 sq. ft. of space for residents of California to spend their time in when gaming.

This casino was opened by the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians in 2002 and grew to the size it is at now after a massive renovation in 2004 that nearly doubled it's size. In fact, this casino is larger than any other in the western United States, even among those in Nevada.