Pechanga Resort Casino Closing to Public on New Year’s Eve, Only Rewards Members Welcomed

Posted on: December 29, 2020, 12:32h. 

Last updated on: December 29, 2020, 05:48h.

The Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California, will close to the general public on New Year’s Eve at 12 noon local time.

Pechanga Resort Casino New Year's Eve
Pechanga Resort Casino, located between San Diego and Los Angeles, will close to the general public on New Year’s Eve at 5 pm PT. (Image: Pechanga Resort Casino)

The tribal casino owned and operated by the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians says it’s closing on the final day of 2020 in order to limit capacity on the gaming floor. The resort says only Pechanga Club members will be provided access from 12 noon on December 31. The property will reopen to all guests at 6 am on January 1, 2021.

To maintain our strict, comprehensive health and safety protocols, the annual New Year’s Eve events, entertainment, and gala were canceled in October. We hope next year will be different and we can all celebrate together again,” a statement on the casino website notifies.

Dining reservations that were made prior to today’s announcement will be honored, regardless of whether the patron is a Pechanga Club member.

With more than 4,500 slot machines and 150 table games, plus a poker room, off-track pari-mutuel betting parlor, and 700-seat bingo facility, the Pechanga Casino bills itself as the largest gaming venue on the West Coast.

Tribes Voluntarily Limit Capacity

No state has more tribal casinos than California. The Native American gaming floors in the Golden State won more than $9.5 billion in the 2019 fiscal year, an all-time best.

Gaming is the economic lifeline for most tribes in California, which is why, despite the state continuing to see COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations climb, nearly all of the tribal casinos remain open in some capacity.

California tribal casinos began reopening in May, as coronavirus data trended positive. That has since changed during the fall and winter. But being sovereign enterprises, tribal casinos are free to dismiss the governor’s orders.

Commercial casinos in the state — which are card clubs and cannot offer slot machines or house-banked table games like blackjack — remain closed on state and county orders.

While tribes don’t need to listen to Newsom, they are responding to the general public. Last week, Graton Resort Casino, located north of San Francisco, announced it was calling off its planned 4,000-person private New Year’s Eve gala.

County officials were pleading with the tribal resort to cancel the event. Amid public backlash on social media, the tribe agreed to can the large indoor gathering.

New Year’s Plans

Californians remain under a daily stay-at-home order between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am. Several tribal casinos are still advertising New Year’s Eve events that go far past the supposed curfew.

Casinos offering New Year’s Eve events into the early hours of 2021 include Pala, Morongo, Cahuilla, Augustine, and Agua Caliente.

Many others, however, are not hosting any happenings to ring in the new year. San Manuel, Casino Pauma, Fantasy Springs, Harrah’s Southern California, Soboba Casino, and Tortoise Rock are just a few of the tribal casinos that are keeping the holiday relatively quiet.