Californian Tribes Renovating Casinos to Better Compete with Las VegasDecember 19, 2017 3:28 pm
Last year, 43 million tourists travelled to Las Vegas in Nevada of which a massive 27% came from the neighboring state of California. Aware of the opportunity cost involved in losing so many potential customers to cross border gamblers, Indian casinos based in southern California have now embarked on a number of building or renovation projects in order to make their venues more attractive to state residents.
At the heart of this latest multimillion-dollar renovation drive is the need to offer visitors a range of other touristic products to compliment the gambling options already available at their casinos. This includes turning venues into integrated resorts, complete with shops, restaurants, spas and various other entertainment activities, and as Katherine Spilde, director of Sycuan Institute on Government Gaming at San Diego State University, explains:
“The tribes are really responding to a mature tourist market. The integrated resort is the evolved model of gaming where the gaming is just one part of the larger experience.”
This Friday, for instance, the Pechanga tribe is set to unveil its new $285 million renovation, complete with an extra 568 hotel rooms, expanded casino gaming floor and convention space, in addition to a luxury spa and fitness center.
Meanwhile, in January the Viejas casino in San Diego County is hoping to have a 159-room section of its casino complete, together with a saltwater pool, spa, and three new restaurants, with similar projects also underway at the nearby Pala casino and Sycuan resort.
As well as upping their game to better compete with the integrated resorts based in Las Vegas, Indian casinos are also keen to ensure traveling to such locations remain as arduous an undertaking as possible. This includes vehemently opposing any attempt to build support for a high-speed train link being constructed between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, with travelers having to endure regular weekend traffic jams along Interstate 15, instead.