California ‘Gasinos’ Make Up Big Chunk Of All Gasino Gaming In The US

Written By C.J. Pierre on December 21, 2023 - Last Updated on December 27, 2023
Image of person playing a slot machine, which is among the gambling options at the 14 gas station casinos — or gasinos — in California

Gas stations and convenience stores are as common in the US as nearly anything else. Some are “conveniently” located near casinos and can encourage guests to stay on the property longer.

Then there are “gasinos,” gas stations and convenience stores that offer onsite gaming. Gasinos have massive economic potential by providing a casual gaming experience to customers.

That’s particularly true in California, where 17.5% of the gasino gaming options in the US reside, according to Indian Gaming magazine. Many of them are owned by California tribes or operate on tribal lands and are owned by members of the community, near some of the most popular Southern California casinos and Northern California casinos.

Over 2,200 gasino games in California

The magazine says there are 107 tribally-owned gasinos in the US, including 14 in California. That number may not seem significant. However, when you look at how many gasino gaming options there are spread across those 14 locations, you can get the complete picture.

California’s 14 gasinos combine for approximately 2,100 slot machines, 11 table games and over 100 fuel kiosks. That’s over 2,200 gasino gaming positions, nearly one-fifth of the gasino gaming positions in the US. California is home to the second-most gasino gaming positions in the country, trailing only Oklahoma.

Tribes in California have seen success with gasinos. The state has 13% of all gasinos, 14.2% of gasino fuel kiosks and 17.5% of gasino gaming positions in the country. Despite having fewer gasino gaming positions than Oklahoma, California has more gaming positions per gasino, with 158.5 of them. Nine of the state’s gasinos are within close walking distance of the respective tribe’s main California casino. The remaining five are stand-alone properties.

Why is gas cheaper at casinos?

As of December 20, the average price for gas in California is $4.58 per gallon, according to AAA. That’s nearly $1.50 more expensive than the national average per gallon ($3.09). However, if you swing by a gasino or any gas station located near a tribal casino, it’s a little bit cheaper than what you’d find in your neighborhood.

That is because if a California tribal casino gas station sits on reservation land, the owners don’t have to pay federal taxes. State taxes do need to be paid just like every other gas station in the state. That comes out to about 54 cents per gallon. However, gasinos and gas stations near a tribal casino don’t have to pay federal taxes, which saves them about 18 cents a gallon.

There are 23 tribal gas stations currently listed in California, but no one tribe has the same tax agreement. Some tribes have different deals with the state, allowing for a different tax structure than other casinos. Other tribes may have an understanding with their local county governments on how much taxes they pay.

Overall, tribes not paying federal taxes means you save about 18 cents per gallon by gassing up at a tribal casino.

Photo by Shutterstock
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C.J. Pierre

C.J. Pierre is a Lead Writer at PlayCA. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and is an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. He recently dove into tribal casino, sports betting and online gambling news. He also covered the launch of sports betting in Arizona. C.J. has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career, most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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