Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians Tribal Council members breaking ground on the new casino-resort on Feb. 28, in San Jacinto. From left, Tribal Council Chairman Scott Cozart, Vice Chair Isaiah Vivanco, Sergeant at Arms Rose Salgado and Treasurer Kelli Hurtado. Photo courtesy Soboba Casino

In 1983, the Soboba Tribe of San Jacinto cautiously ventured into Indian gaming with humble beginnings, a simple bingo hall in a temporary sprung structure and pre-fabricated trailer. On Tuesday, Feb. 28, after 22 years of struggles and challenges, legal battles and negotiations, changes and building, the tribe and casino management proudly broke ground to mark the beginning of the construction of a modern, permanent casino-resort. 
Tribal Administrator and Soboba Tribal member Michael Castello opened the ceremony by welcoming the invited guests and dignitaries present, and then introduced Steven Estrada, Chairman of the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians who provided a traditional prayer and blessing in his native language.

Before a few words by the chairman, Councilwoman Rose Salgado said, “We must give gratitude for all our ancestors before us and for those who fought for our rights. We must acknowledge all the tribal members and elders who gave us perseverance.”

Those in attendance included Soboba tribal members, administrators, city and corporate officials, casino management and team members, as well as hundreds of invited guests who came to witness the historic occasion.

The Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians celebrated the official ground breaking of the new property on the corner of Lake Park Drive and Soboba Road with an invitation-only ceremony. The new resort-casino will be located just a few miles from the current casino property. 

The complex will feature an 83,500-square-foot casino floor with 2,000 slot machines and 24 table games, surrounded by eateries, bars, a sports lounge, a high-limit room, and many other indoor and outdoor amenities.

The new hotel will feature more than 200 rooms and suites. According to the individual who has been tasked to build this project and the future casino-resort’s General Manager Scott Sirois, guests will arrive to a hotel with spectacular amenities and sumptuous suites, modern technology and a few surprises. These extra touches will be a first for the Inland Empire and possibly the nation.

The new facility will generate hundreds of new job opportunities and millions of dollars of economic stimulus for the local community, according to a press release, an opportunity which the city of San Jacinto is welcoming with open arms.

The land became officially under construction following the ceremony.