Ah, gambling. A pastime for some, a passion for others. When one thinks of the activity, destinations such as Atlantic City and Las Vegas spring to mind. However, few know that California ranks third in the country by the number of casinos. There are 62 such venues within its borders. It trails Oklahoma by 72 establishments, and it is 272 locales short of matching the undisputed gambling king – Nevada.
Sadly, there is are no Santa Clarita casinos. Tourist gaming enthusiasts looking to test their luck are disappointed to learn there is no casino near Magic Mountain. However, that may change soon, as there has been a recent public outcry from residents who drive to other Los Angeles cities to enjoy a little gambling action. Let us review the closest gaming establishments to our valley city. What kind of offer do they boast?
Note that California law forbids commercial operators from providing games of chance to patrons. They can only offer those that involve skill. There is no place for slots and classic table games on their floors. These are only available at tribal spots, while commercial ones focus on poker.
Hollywood Park Casino
Located in Inglewood, the new building of the Hollywood Park Casino opened in October of 2016. It is home to over 125 tables, which let you enjoy many casino–poker variants, No Collection Baccarat, and Party Craps. Newbies can access a 24-hour instructional table where a croupier will teach them any of these. If No-Limit Texas Hold’em is your thing, there are many low limit games here. As mentioned, due to California law, the gaming floor features no machine games. If you must spin reels, as an alternative, you can play casinos for real money online. Off-track betting is also an option here, and it includes betting on races from North America and Australia.
If you are wondering how far is the casino from Santa Clarita? Well, it is a 42-mile drive. It should take you around 45 minutes to reach it. There are not many dining options at Hollywood Park, and the comps structure is mainly undefined. That said, it is one of the cleanest and best-decorated gaming establishments in the county, and it is worth at least one visit.
Commerce Casino & Hotel
You can find the appropriately named Commerce Casino on Telegraph Road in the city of Commerce. It is about a 46-minute drive from Magic Mountain. Launched in 1983 and renovated in 2001, this site is famous for having the world’s largest cardroom and is responsible for about 30% to 40% of the city’s tax revenues. The complex includes the 200-room Crowne Plaza Hotel, home to a pool, a day spa, four dining establishments, banquet rooms, and more. In 2014, the casino section opened its Playboy-themed gaming lounge.
Again, you will not find any slot machines on the premises, but it features around 270 tables, of which 243 are active 24/7. Most of these focus on Texas Hold’em and casino–poker games like Pai Gow and Caribbean Stud. Over the years, the Commerce Casino has played host to several poker tournaments, combat sports events, and professional wrestling shows. On any given day, on average, around 10,000 people stroll through its floor.
The Bicycle Hotel & Casino
Founded in 1984 and renovated in 2015, The Bicycle Hotel & Casino is the only gaming establishment of its caliber in Bell Gardens. More commonly known as The Bike, this venue is the brainchild of notorious California businessman Sam Gilbert. The man who financed its construction with funds obtained from his money laundering schemes. In 1990, the US Government seized the casino, and it has been running as a legitimate business ever since. In 2015, it underwent a massive expansion and now includes a seven-story, 118,000 square-foot hotel, complete with a penthouse nightclub and gourmet restaurant.
The Bicycle Casino floor houses just about every California card game imaginable. So, if you are a fan of Super Pan 9, Fortune Pai Gow Poker, Pai Gow Tiles, Chinese Poker, 21st Century Blackjack, or EZ Baccarat, this is the place for you. You can find it off the 710 freeway in Los Angeles. It is easily accessible from downtown LA, approximately 45.5 miles away from the center of Santa Clarita.
Owned and operated by El Dorado Enterprises, Hustler magazine owner Larry Flynt runs this establishment, previously named The El Dorado Club. Today, HUSTLER Casino is most famous for hosting the biggest Seven-Card Stud game in the world. Opened in 2000, you can find it 15 miles south of downtown LA, or about a 50-minute drive from Santa Clarita. Its location is not in the most luxurious part of town, so beware of that. In 2007, this venue underwent substantial renovation and expansion, adding its Crystal Room, which now serves as a combination card and conference room, and poker tournament site.
The Hustler Casino boasts 50 poker tables, where card enthusiasts can enjoy No-Limit Hold’em and Limit Hold’em, as well as Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo, with varying bet limits. Some games even feature progressive jackpots, which add an extra layer of excitement to the gaming experience. The rules, fees, and comp rates here are comparable to other California card spots. Dining options on the premises include the Blackjack Lounge, Larry Flynt’s Bar & Grill, Corky’s Snack Bar, and Coco’s.
The Gardens Casino
Constructed in 1997 by the philanthropist and businessman Irving Moskowitz, The Gardens Casino began as a 60,000 square feet venue. In 2016, it expanded over three-fold in size, reaching 200,000 square feet. It is a super-large establishment, and many consider it one of the top card rooms in the metropolitan Los Angeles area. It is the site of several shows hosted by the webcast Poker Night in America and features 115 gaming tables, 110 of which are poker ones. It organizes daily card tournaments as well as special event ones.
Located at Carson St, Hawaiian Gardens, heavy traffic makes this venue hard to reach. That is unless you are coming from South Los Angeles. Gardens is a 57-mile drive from Santa Clarita. So with luck on your side, you should arrive at its doors in about an hour, via the I-5 S. You can find low limit games outside the main floor, and for those with deep pockets, the Gardens Casino has what it calls a VIP section, where it runs its higher limit tables. Instead of utilizing the Bravo program, this site chooses to implement its comps system, with employees scanning cards to track gameplay and credit comps. While this may be an outdated system, the rates here are very competitive. Unfortunately, the casino has no adjoining hotel.
To Wrap Up
Know that there are no gaming locales in Santa Clarita. So regrettably, you cannot find a casino in Valencia, CA, or any of Santa Clarita’s other famous neighborhoods. For now, residents will have to make a 45 to 60-minute drive to enjoy a bit of gambling fun. Note that if you want to spin slots, you will have to do it at one of California’s Native American casinos, which are home to over 70,000 such machines. However, you may want to consider playing those types of games via your phone at one of many digital platforms. These sites feature games with far more advanced gameplay and graphics than physical machines and provide comparable prizes. If card action is what you are looking for, then Los Angeles county has enough poker tables to satisfy even the pickiest of players.
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