Unlike Jonathan Swift’s satirical essay entitled “A Modest Proposal” that suggest the Irish should sell their children to rich people as food, my modest proposal is a thought on how to improve Indian Gaming especially here in San Diego county. What I view as a big problem for Indian Gaming here is that the reservations are on land that is pretty much in the middle of nowhere and in a lot of cases have fairly treacherous roads to get to them, and all the casinos are spread out way too far apart from each other to be a real draw.
The proposal I am suggesting is that the tribes should get together, and select one of the reservations that is either centrally located within the county or one that is easy to get to and in exchange for land or revenue from the other tribes, allow the other local tribes ownership rights to a section of the land in order to build their resort casinos. Essentially allowing for all the local Indian tribes to set up their casinos in one location and create a San Diego version of the Las Vegas strip. With all the local Indian casinos in a single location, it would create the ultimate Southern California gaming destination.
The benefit of a San Diego Strip of Indian Gaming casinos is that it would eliminate the problems of having horrible winding roads to get to the casinos. The reason being is that with ten current gaming tribes in San Diego county putting all their casinos in one place, between the ten of them, they could afford to create a set of large and safe roadways in and out of the strip area. The amount of effort to police the casinos could be consolidated, plus it would easier to market the casinos as all it would be easy to just advertise each casino as being part of the San Diego strip.
Also the benefit of having all the casinos in one location is that it would eliminate the feeling of being land locked. Players who are having no luck at one casino would happily just cross the street to try their luck at one of the strip casinos where they currently would have to travel by car in many cases several miles just to hit the next casino. Plus with all the casinos in one location, additional revenue sources could be generated by all the support businesses such as the retail and food services that would also be anxious to set up shop in the area. The casinos would be able to better drive their event business as well renting out ballrooms to corporate meetings and other functions because the area would be more attractive to stay in.
With the area becoming such a draw it would offer the opportunity for resident entertainment shows which have long since been the staple of Las Vegas. Imagine a San Diego resident Cirque du Soleil show, maybe even a Broadway show or two for year long runs. San Diego is a far more attractive place to live than Las Vegas, so it would most likely be easy to draw big name talent for extended run shows.
A San Diego strip of Indian casinos would also be a big draw for San Diego which tends to be overshadowed by both San Francisco and Los Angeles for tourist dollars. A more centralized gaming area would also help draw additional players from the Los Angeles market. Currently the top revenue casino in the Southern California area is Pechanga which resides in Riverside county, just outside of San Diego county. People who currently visit Pechanga would most likely be easily swayed to bypass Pechanga and head further south into San Diego county if they could have their choice of ten casinos in one location.
Of course, there would be some down sides to it as well. The main one of which is that casinos would actually start to have to compete with each other on service to the guests. As it currently sits, the guests are kind of a captive audience because it requires traveling several miles to play at another casino, but when guests get treated better, they’re more likely to want to come back. With so many hotel options in one area, room rates would definitely have to drop, but they’d be more likely to be filled constantly. And since a lot of the rooms are provided at no cost to the best players already, this really doesn’t change too much, other than it’s more likely to draw additional players that currently aren’t already coming to the area.
And it’s possible that some land disputes and revenue issues would prevent such a proposal from ever happening, but if the tribes work together to make this a reality they would be able to take advantage of San Diego’s location in Southern California and create a gaming area that could rival Las Vegas in terms of popularity. While Las Vegas is known for its ability to recreate other parts of the world, it’s not located minutes from the beach, or about a hours drive away from most of the theme parks in Southern California.
That is my modest proposal to the tribes of San Diego county to create a gambling destination that could rival Las Vegas in terms of popularity.