Best SoCal Casinos Ranked In 17 Categories

Written By Hill Kerby on October 31, 2022
Which are the best SoCal casino resorts?

Every year, the Southern California Gaming Guide asks its readers to choose the best casinos in Southern California across several categories?

This year’s results are out.

Guide surveys patrons at two dozen casino resorts

Only federally recognized Native American tribes are allowed to run casinos in California. There are around two dozen casinos in Southern California.

Readers of the gaming guide patronize the 24 Southern California casino resorts throughout the year, providing feedback that helps determine the Readers’ Choice Best Casinos awards.

Voting took place in August. Let’s take a look at which properties shined brightest.

Thirteen casinos represented in 17 categories

The poll consisted of 17 categories for readers to submit their favorite casinos. They ranged from the luckiest casino and loosest slots to the best promotions, dining and also entertainment. Each category listed the top three casinos.

In total, 13 casinos appeared in the results. Harrah’s Southern California and Pechanga Resort Casino each topped the list with three first-place awards. Harrah’s SoCal was recognized as having the best casino, players club and casual dining options, while Pechanga had the best blackjack, golf course and pool.

Valley View Casino & Hotel, Sycuan Casino and Yaamava’ Resort & Casino all won two first-place awards.

Other winners were Agua Caliente Casinos, Chumas, Pala, Morongo, Viejas, Soboba, Barona and also Pauma.

Readers’ Choice Best Southern California Casinos

CategoryWinner2nd Place3rd Place
Luckiest CasinoMorongo Casino Resort & SpaValley View Casino & HotelSoboba Casino Resort
Loosest SlotsSycuan Casino ResortPala Casino Spa ResortCasino Pauma
Best CasinoHarrah's Resort Southern CaliforniaValley View Casino & HotelViejas Casino & Resort
Best Casino ResortYaamava' Resort & Casino at San ManuelPechanga Resort CasinoPala Casino Spa Resort
Best ServiceBarona Resort & CasinoPechanga Resort CasinoValley View Casino & Hotel
Best PromotionsValley View Casino & HotelChumash Casino ResortYaamava' Resort & Casino at San Manuel
Best Players ClubHarrah's Resort Southern CaliforniaAgua Caliente Casino Rancho MirageValley View Casino & Hotel
Best Slots TournamentsPala Casino Spa ResortMorongo Casino Resort & SpaYaamava' Resort & Casino at San Manuel
Best Fine DiningValley View Casino & HotelAgua Caliente Casino Rancho MirageChumash Casino Resort
Best Casual DiningHarrah's Resort Southern CaliforniaYaamava' Resort & Casino at San ManuelPechanga Resort Casino
Best EntertainmentYaamava' Resort & Casino at San ManuelPala Casino Spa ResortAgua Caliente Casino Rancho Mirage
Best BlackjackPechanga Resort CasinoViejas Casino & ResortSoboba Casino Resort
Best BingoSycuan Casino ResortViejas Casino & ResortChumash Casino Resort
Best Poker RoomChumash Casino ResortSycuan Casino ResortAgua Caliente Casino Rancho Mirage
Best SpaAgua Caliente Casino Rancho MirageHarrah's Resort Southern CaliforniaSycuan Casino Resort
Best Golf CoursePechanga Resort CasinoAgua Caliente Casino Rancho MirageMorongo Casino Resort & Spa
Best PoolPechanga Resort CasinoHarrah's Resort Southern CaliforniaSycuan Casino Resort

Six casinos stood above the others

Pechanga, Agua Caliente and Valley View topped the list with six total awards. Sycuan, Yaamava’ and Harrah’s SoCal followed with five.

Valley View and Sycuan won fewer awards than in 2021 (10 and eight, respectively). Pechanga added three new awards from 2021: best blackjack (1st place), best service (2nd place) and best casual dining (3rd place).

Most Readers’ Choice Awards in 2022

CasinoWinner2nd Place3rd PlaceTotal
Valley View2226
Agua Caliente1326
Harrah's SoCal 3205
Sycuan 2125

Yaamava’ bursts on to the scene

Yaamava’ Resort & Casino’s two awards came in the “best casino resort” and also “best entertainment” categories. These are much deserved after completing a $760 million expansion, including a 17-floor hotel and also a $76 million state-of-the-art music venue.

Of its five awards, only one was a repeat from 2021. It finished third in “best slots tournaments,” placing in that category for the fifth straight year. Its complete list of “Best” awards:

  • Casino Resort – 1st place (2021 result: not ranked)
  • Entertainment – 1st place (2021: not ranked)
  • Casual Dining – 2nd place (2021: not ranked)
  • Promotions – 3rd place (2021: not ranked)
  • Slots Tournaments – 3rd place (2021: 3rd place)

In 2021, Yaamava’ appeared on the awards list just twice, with no first-place awards. Those awards were:

  • Best Blackjack – 2nd place (2022 result: not ranked)
  • Best Slots Tournaments – 3rd place (2022: 3rd place)

Eleven casinos go unmentioned

After all was said and done, the remaining 11 SoCal casinos did not win any awards. Many of these casinos are smaller than those represented above. Of these casinos, only Fantasy Springs fell from the 2021 list, when it won one award (Best Bingo – 3rd place).

The 11 casinos that did not win in 2022:

  • Augustine Casino
  • Cahuilla Casino
  • Fantasy Springs Resort Casino
  • Golden Acorn Casino & Travel Center
  • Havasu Landing Resort & Casino
  • Jamul Casino
  • Quechan Casino Resort
  • Red Earth Casino
  • Sho-Ka-Wah Casino
  • Spotlight 29 Casino
  • Tortoise Rock Casino
Photo by Shutterstock
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Hill Kerby

Hill Kerby is a proponent of safe, legal betting, and is grateful to be able to contribute to growing the industry. He has a background in poker, sports, and psychology, all of which he incorporates into his writing.

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