A Modest Proposal For San Diego Indian Casinos

Las Vegas StripUnlike 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.



6 thoughts on “A Modest Proposal For San Diego Indian Casinos”

  1. Great Idea!

    However, one tribe would have to use their reservation, and the other tribes can pay rent, or a goodwill fee for setting up their casinos on the designated tribes reservation. The American Indians would not want to do this business out of their reservations.

  2. Yes it would have to be on reservation land as it would not be legal otherwise. It’s just a matter of seeing if the Indians can see the value of the Big Picture for the revenue generation possibilities than the possible land disputes. They would have to figure out what’s fair. I don’t know if its possible, but it would be very interesting to see.

  3. As far as I know there is only 1 tribe who is conveniently located and that is Viejas as they are just off I-8. I don’t beleive any of the north county tribes are too close to I-15. Viejas already has a large casino and an outlet mall as it is. I also doubt Barona would go along with this with the money they spent building their resort, nor Sycuan as they bought a golf course adjacent to their land to expand their property and they are the big 3 in the county. Good thinking Ryan but this needed to be done 15 to 20 years ago. It’s too late now.

  4. Hi Peter,

    Actually I was kind of thing in terms of location, if they could connect a road near Scripps-Poway parkway/67 with Barona’s reservation it would be the most centrally located location. With roughly 10 tribes contributing to the construction of a direct road, it would be possible to move that much Earth. But you are correct, Viejas is the only one that’s ideally suited for easy highway access.

    And yes, it probably would have been a better suggestion before all the mega casinos got built, but even still it does have potential as a pie in the sky kind of idea. I don’t honestly expect it to ever happen. But I think a San Diego Strip of casinos would have the potential to be a major draw perhaps even rivaling Las Vegas. And I think if such were the case, I think there would be more big name casino companies with management deals than just Harrah’s in town. I could see a San Diego strip would likely have a tribe partnered with MGM’s company, a Foxwoods partnered one, who knows Harrah’s might want to partner with a second tribe and do the other one as Caesars Palace.

  5. Actually for me Ryan, I like it pretty much the way it is because I don’t want the mega-casino companies running them here. Tribal gaming should be just that run by the tribes with “support” from management companies. I really don’t appreciate what Rincon has done as it’s not what I voted for. At the extreme it should be Rincon Casino, run by Harrah’s but the Harrah’s should not come before Rincon. Foxwoods I believe now is run by Caesar’s Palace too. But most of the casinos here in San Diego at least are the way they should be

  6. Hi Peter,

    Actually I think the Rincon tribe’s partnering with Harrah’s was one of the more brilliant moves they could have done and I thought that from the moment it was announced Harrah’s was coming to San Diego. The reason I feel this way is that the Rincon reservation is in a lousy location. In order to get to it, depending on which way you go, you have to pass one (Valley View if coming from Escondido) or two (Pala and Pauma if coming in from Highway 76) other casinos that are closer to the highway. The Rincon tribe needed a way to differentiate their casino in a way that will get people to pass those other casinos in order to get there. The advantages of having Harrah’s there is that they are a nationally recognized name. Their rewards card program allows you to earn the points at Rincon and redeem them in Las Vegas or anywhere else there is a Harrah’s casino. The Rincon tribe is more than happy to allow Harrah’s to have top billing, because it will bring in the customers.

    And no, Foxwoods is not run by Caesars Palace (no apostrophe in Caesars as it was meant to imply everyone is a Caesar and every guest should feel like a Caesar in their palace). Caesars Palace is one of the brands in the Harrah’s company of casinos. Prior to the Harrah’s buyout of the Caesars Palace company, Caesars had a tentative agreement with the Pauma tribe to convert their casino into a Caesars Palace, but that of course fell through once the Caesars became a subsidiary of Harrah’s. They were also supposed to become a Hard Rock casino, but that deal fell through as well. Last I heard their tribe was in talks with the Foxwoods management company, but I don’t know if that fell through too.

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