TOP OF THE SLOTS
Offerings at casinos continue to reach new heights as they invest in infrastructure and top-tier talent. Variety’s inaugural Casino Entertainment Impact List looks at which gambling institutions are truly at the top of their game. ROY TRAKIN CASINOS
AGUA CALIENTE CASINO RESORT SPA
Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians; the Show at Agua Caliente (capacity: 2,057). Recent and upcoming shows include
Steve Martin Martin Short, Mel Brooks, Sting & Shaggy, Jose Feliciano and Penn Teller.
& “This is the best venue in the desert, with the best amenities and the best staff,” says Billy Brill, tribal gaming casino booker.
BARONA RESORT & CASINO
Barona Group of Capitan Grande Band of Mission Indians; no onsite venue or entertainment; San Diego Union-tribute Readers Poll names it Best Casino, Loosest Slots and Best Casino Buffet for eight straight years.
CACHE CREEK CASINO RESORT
Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation; Club 88 (700). A $200 million expansion that started in May 2017 will add 459 more rooms, a multipurpose ballroom, a pool, restaurant and another event space that could accommodate up to 1,300. Performers include Jim Belushi, Ken Jeong, 98 Degrees.
CHUMASH CASINO RESORT
Santa Ynez, Calif.
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians; the Samala Showroom (1,400). Upcoming shows include
Third Eye Blind, Los Tigres Del Norte;
the showroom returned to its regular capacity after an expansion/renovation project was completed in May 2016.
FANTASY SPRINGS RESORT CASINO
Ziggy Marley takes centerstage at the Chumash Casino and Resort’s Samala Showroom in June.
Cabazon Band of Mission Indians; at the Special Events Center (3,700). Recent and upcoming shows include
Boz Scaggs, TLC En Vogue, Christina Aguilera, Rascal Flatts, Diana Krall, Paula Abdul, Tony Bennett;
the Rock Yard (3,000) has featured AC/DC, Van Halen, Journey and Rolling Stones tribute bands as the “premiere rock venue in the desert.”
Mohegan Indian Tribe; Mohegan Sun Arena (10,000). Recent and upcoming shows include
Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett, Ozuna, Janet Jackson, Tony Bennett, Christina Aguilera, Florence the Machine, Paul Anka, Josh Groban Justin Timberlake;
and the on-site, 350-seat Wolf & Den is an open-ended venue, which hosts live shows by the likes of Stone Sour, Ludacris, Killswitch Engage, Eddie Money, Slash, Warrant and Slaughter. There is also a 400seat Cabaret Theater on the premises.
MORONGO CASINO RESORT & SPA
The Morongo Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians; the Morongo Ballroom (3,200). Recent and upcoming shows include the
Mavericks & Los Lobos, Salt-nPepa, Boy George/culture Club, Breakfast With the Beatles, “Hollywood Medium” Tyler Henry, Dennis Miller and Cheech & Chong.