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What you need to know about the 10 San Diego-area casinos

Learning how to play pai gow at San Diego’s Casino Institute.
Pai gow is one of the most popular table games in the casino.
(Union-Tribune file photo)

If you’re looking to gamble, eat, play golf, hit the pool or stay at one of the San Diego-region’s casinos, here’s our guide to what they offer at Barona, Golden Acorn, Harrah’s SoCal, Jamul, Pala, Pauma, Pechanga, Sycuan, Valley View and Viejas

Barona Resort & Casino

1932 Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside. (619) 443-2300. barona.com

The deal: A full-scale casino resort with a hotel, championship golf course, day spa and multiple dining venues. The casino floor offers 2,640 slot machines and about 120 table games. The expanded casino floor features 30,000 square feet of gaming space. Longtime favorite restaurants include the Barona Oaks Steakhouse and Seasons Fresh buffet. Convenient options are the Barona Coffee Company for pastries, fresh cinnamon buns, sandwiches and salads, the Soup Stand for six varieties of eat-in or take-out soup and the Creamery, serving premium ice cream, soft serve, shakes and sundaes.

Golden Acorn Casino

1800 Golden Acorn Way, Campo. (866) 794-6244. goldenacorncasino.com

The deal: A respite for truckers and the road-weary, Golden Acorn is a compact-size casino with a Travel Center and dining venues. The casino floor features 750 slot machines and eight table games, including $3 blackjack and Ultimate Texas Hold ’Em. The Golden Grill offers players club members a $19.95 steak and popcorn shrimp dinner special, plus $5 free play. Golden Acorn’s 24/7, 3,000-square-foot Travel Center and rest stop offers clean showers and restrooms, laundry facilities, a TV lounge and Wi-Fi, and other amenities.

Harrah’s Resort Southern California

777 Harrah’s Rincon Way, Valley Center. (760) 751-3100. harrahssocal.com

The deal: A full-service casino resort with a hotel, luxury pool complex, a wellness spa and multiple dining venues. Gaming options include 1,700 slots and 60 table games. The hotel offers 1,087 rooms and suites; steps away is the first tribal-owned craft brewery, SR76 Beerworks. The pool complex known as Dive features three pools, eight hot tubs, a swim-up bar, a 400-foot lazy river and 23 cabanas. The luxurious 11,000-square-foot spa features a full-service salon and a hip barbershop. A Topgolf Swing Suite can be rented so players can practice their skills at golf, baseball, football, hockey and more.

Jamul Casino

14145 Campo Road, Jamul. (619) 315-2250. jamulcasinosd.com

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The deal: Jamul Casino has a 10- table poker room that features table-side dining, full bar service, weekly poker tournaments and special events. The gaming floor has 1,700 slot machines, 40 tables and seven dining venues. Prime Cut, the fine-dining steakhouse, has expansive mountain views and offers an all-day Sunday lobster brunch for $50. Loft 94 Beer Garden, which serves 48 craft beers and has an outdoor patio, will soon introduce yakitori grill and Asian noodle specialties. A sizable collection of Mr. Padre’s memorabilia is housed at Tony Gwynn’s Sports Pub, which hosts a Thursday night $50 snow crab buffet and a Friday night $30 Prime Rib All-Star buffet.

Pala Casino Spa & Resort

11154 Highway 76, Pala. (877) 946-7252. palacasino.com

The deal: A full-scale casino resort with a hotel, multiple restaurants and deluxe spa. Pala features a 21-and-over pool complex, called Tourmaline, that has five heated pools, waterfalls, daybeds, hot tubs, 14 luxury cabanas and fire pits. The casino floor has 2,250 slot and video poker machines, 84 table games, an eight-table poker room that host tournaments and an expanded non-smoking area. Highlights among the 10 eateries are the Bar Meets Grill restaurant and the recently expanded indoor/outdoor Luis Rey’s. The hotel has 507 recently renovated rooms and suites.

Casino Pauma

777 Pauma Reservation Road, Pauma Valley. (760) 742-2177. casinopauma.com

The deal: A 35,000-square-foot casino featuring live entertainment and dining venues. Gaming options include over 1,000 slot machines and 19 table games, including $3 blackjack. The three dining choices are the Grove Buffet, a cafe with an all-day menu and the 24/7 Casino Pauma Deli and Pizzeria. Drinks are served at the Triple Seven Bar as well as the Red Parrot Lounge. The covered Pauma Pavilion, with 1,100 seats, offers year-round entertainment and a state-of-the-art sound system. The Pavilion showcases entertainment from Latin Nights to rock concerts.

Pechanga Resort & Casino

45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula. (888) 732-4264. pechanga.com

The deal: A mega resort with a hotel, spa, golf course, designer boutiques, event center, theater, comedy club and a range of dining venues. Pechanga has the status of the biggest casino resort on the West Coast. The casino floor clocks in at a massive 200,000 square feet. Pechanga has more than a dozen eateries and several designer shopping boutiques. The hotel has 1,090 hotel rooms and suites, including 568 new ones. A two-story luxury spa has 17 treatment rooms, a salon, fitness center and private pool and spa. The 4½-acre pool complex, called The Cove, has a swim-up bar, waterside day beds and in-pool lounge chairs.

Sycuan Casino Resort

5469 Casino Way, El Cajon. (619) 445-6002. sycuan.com

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The deal: A brand-new, $260-million casino resort that opened in March, Sycuan has a 12-story luxury hotel tower, with 302 rooms, including 57 suites. Retreat Pool & Cabanas has an adult pool with a swim-up bar, a family pool and a lazy river. The resort includes a full-service day spa, Ritual, and a new fitness facility. The casino floor has been expanded by 60,000 square feet and now houses a total of 2,800 slots and 50 table games. The hip Elicit Bar & Lounge and swanky Bull and Bourbon steakhouse have been added. A new events center hosts headlining acts, while the Live & Up Close theater offers more intimate shows. The Uncommons food court features popular locals Phil’s BBQ, Hodad’s and Lucha Libre.

Valley View Casino & Hotel

16300 Nyemii Pass Road, Valley Center. (760) 291-5500. valleyviewcasino.com

The deal: With a $50 million expansion and renovation project completed in July, Valley View now features an additional 43,000 square feet of additional casino, restaurant and public space. The existing casino, VIP room, expansive non-smoking area and buffet also received a top-to-bottom revamp. The casino has 2,000 slot machines and 22 table games. The new Patties & Pints serves eight kinds of burgers and has 16 beers on tap. An adults-only boutique resort hotel has 108-rooms, all non smoking. The popular endless Maine lobster buffet was recently expanded by 100 seats and features 25 new dishes.

Viejas Casino & Resort

5000 Willows Road, Alpine. (619) 445-5400. viejas.com

The deal: A full-scale casino resort with two hotels — the Forbes Four Star Viejas Hotel and the luxurious, all-suites, adults-only Willows Hotel & Spa — as well as an entertainment complex and an outlet shopping center with bowling and a skating rink. The casino floor includes around 2,300 slot machines, eight different kinds of table games, an off-track betting lounge and a bingo and slot parlor. The luxury spa has its own saltwater spa pool, garden, salt sauna, a hair and nail salon and 24-hour fitness center. Notable restaurants include The Grove Steakhouse, the buffet and the new Baron Long Bar & Grill


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