Deal Me In

Travel Guide to California - - CONTENTS -


Sit­u­ated in the mid­dle of the North­ern Cal­i­for­nia wine coun­try near the border of Lake and Napa coun­ties, Twin Pine Casino & Ho­tel, above, makes the most of its lo­ca­tion by of­fer­ing daily wine tast­ings and a Win­ery of the Month event.

In the olden days—the

days of Frank Si­na­tra and Bugsy Siegel—u.s. gam­blers look­ing for a date with Lady Luck had one op­tion: Las Ve­gas. Nowa­days, with changes to gam­bling laws in many states, it’s a safe bet that bettors can throw down their cash just about any­where. Of all the states that now of­fer gam­bling, the best (and most plen­ti­ful) op­tions are in Cal­i­for­nia.

The Golden State has two choices for peo­ple look­ing to place bets: Na­tive Amer­i­can casi­nos, and card rooms (which are glo­ri­fied bars where gam­bling is le­gal, so long as the house doesn’t win).

The Na­tive Amer­i­can out­posts tend to be far­ther from ma­jor cities but of­fer nicer digs. They have slots. They have ta­ble games. They even have bingo. Many of these wa­ger­ing won­der­lands are “Ve­gasstyle” re­sorts, com­plete with lux­ury ho­tels, top-notch restau­rants and in­dul­gent spas. A few of the prop­er­ties even have their own golf courses.

Card rooms are smaller, qui­eter and, in many cases, more geared to­ward lo­cals. Games here are far less var­ied—in most cases, as the name sug­gests, only card games are avail­able. The up­side? Gam­bling ac­tion is usu­ally loose (and that’s a good thing).

We’ve di­vided Cal­i­for­nia’s gam­bling scene into four dis­tinct ge­o­graph­i­cal re­gions. Wher­ever you go, bet wisely, and re­mem­ber to stay within your means.

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