It took nearly 25 years of planning and hard work to create the Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego, but the $390 million project developed by the Jamul Indian Village opened to crowds in October 2016. The Jamul Indian Village, one of 13 bands of the Kumeyaay Nation, a federally recognized Native American tribe, contracted with Penn National Gaming, Inc. to handle day-to-day casino management.
The casino, located in east San Diego county, brings a variety of entertainment, gaming, and dining options to the area. It features more than 1,700 slot machines, 43 gaming tables, restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and an underground parking facility housed in a 200,000 square feet, three-story structure. The casino features a non-smoking area of 165 slot machines, according to its Facebook page.
You might expect The Hollywood Casino to be located in Hollywood, California if judging by the name, but its nomer owes itself to the casino’s classic Hollywood decor and memorabilia. The casino features authentic film memorabilia including Christopher Reeve’s Superman costume and Marilyn Monroe’s red dress from her last photo shoot.
If sports draw you more than film, you’ll feel at home in the casino’s Tony Gwynn Sports Pub. It features a baseball theme and memorabilia from San Diego Padres’ outfielder Gwynn. A visit to the pub is akin to visiting a museum devoted to the late Hall of Famer. Other dining options include Final Cut Steak & Seafood, Loft 94, Ruby’s Dinette, Emerald’s, Tres Taqueria, and Pizza Port.
The Hollywood Casino and its many dining and entertainment options bring more than 1,000 new jobs to the area. The casino hires mostly local staff from the Jamul area, said Jeff Morris, vice president of public affairs at Penn National. Jamul is located about 20 miles east of downtown San Diego.
Although the Kumeyaay Nation has sovereign status, the Jamul Indian Village signed a 25-year tribal-state gaming compact in August 2016. The compact, signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown, establishes the terms under which the casino operates and considerations the tribe will make to San Diego County.
Tribal chairwoman Erica Pinto said the tribe wants to do the right thing for the community and be “a good neighbor.” The Jamul Indian Village will provide contributions for wildlife protection and habitat, about $4 million for road improvements and $275,000 for the Sheriff’s Department to offset additional public safety needs.
“Through this compact, JIV reaffirms its commitment to working with the County on fire service, law enforcement and road improvements,” Pinto said in a press release.
The casino’s management company, Penn National Gaming, Inc. owns and/or operates 27 gaming and entertainment facilities throughout 17 US states and Canada. Hollywood Casino Jamul marks the first facility the Wyomissing company operates in California. The Hollywood is the second Native American facility Penn manages, according to Morris.
“We are grateful to the Jamul Indian Village for giving us the opportunity to build this… destination and are honored to serve as the manager of their facility and to help them realize their goal of becoming economically self-sufficient,“ Penn National president and CEO Timothy J. Wilmott said in an interview with the Lehigh Valley Business.