Top Casinos in Baja California
When you look into things to see and do in Baja, nature is the main focus. There’s excellent fishing, whale watching, hiking, and exploration of ancient sites; even activities like golf and horseback riding are largely enjoyed as means to experience the outdoors in this beautiful region. That said, the peninsula also has a few more traditional attractions for visitors to enjoy, including some amazing casinos in Baja California.
This is particularly interesting regarding Baja because of the nature of gambling in America. Legal online gambling takes place all throughout the United States, as one overview puts it, with more and more states looking into legalization. Brick-and-mortar casinos can be tricky to find, however. While they do pop up here and there, and not just in Las Vegas, there aren’t very many destinations where you know you’ll be able to find a fun place for real money gaming. Baja though isn’t technically American (actually it’s a sovereign state), so it stands to reason things would work a little bit differently. Now, you won’t find anything akin to the Vegas Strip, but there are definitely some fun facilities to consider while on your trip.
Below, we’ll take a brief look at some of the top options for casinos in Baja. These don’t tell the whole story, but they’re definitely among the highlights.
Casino Caliente – Tijuana
Casino Caliente actually has a pretty fascinating history in Tijuana. The gaming attraction started in 1928 as a resort meant to draw Americans across the border. Because gambling activity was restricted in the U.S., many people – including celebrities – flocked to Baja to take part in the games, until 1938 when the same activity became illegal in Mexico. As of 2008, however, casinos are legal once more, and Caliente remains the biggest name in the business. There are actually multiple locations that use the same name, but the primary Casino Caliente is a full-fledged gaming establishment with all the frills, and one of Mexico’s best options.
La Sanluquena – Cabo San Lucas
La Sanluquena isn’t really a casino, actually, but it belongs on this list because it hosts similar activities – particularly in an old-school sense. Located in Cabo San Lucas, it’s actually primarily a horse racing track, where people can watch races and bet on the outcomes. It’s not as major of an establishment as Casino Caliente, but it also provides an activity that isn’t always legal in the U.S. Plus, if you’re just into horses, you can combine a visit with the chance to go horseback riding on your own on the beaches nearby.
Arenia Casino – Mexicali
This is the biggest casino in the Mexicali area, and it’s actually a full-fledged entertainment center despite a relatively plain and small look on the outside. The main gaming focus is on slots, but there’s also betting activity, as well as in-house entertainment and dining. While in some ways it’s a smaller and less impressive version of Casino Caliente, it’s still a nice place to have on your list if you happen to be closer to Mexicali and looking for a night out on your trip. Some have even specifically noted online that it’s a bigger or more impressive place than it looks like.
There are more casinos in Baja, but these are the ones that really stand out. And while they certainly can’t compete with the massive resorts on the Las Vegas strip, they offer nice, casual options to people on vacations, or even Americans crossing the border for recreation. It’s a stretch to say there’s a full casino culture in Baja, but looking into options like these you can see how casino gaming contributes to the overall vacation atmosphere of the area.