Owned and operated by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians in Temecula, Calif., Pechanga edged out several well-respected gaming resorts like the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and the Borgata and L'Auberge in Atlantic City, N.J. to receive the honor.
"We are ecstatic about being voted number one," Lee Torres, Pechanga vice president of marketing, said in a news release. "We say a huge 'thank you' to everyone who cast their ballot for Pechanga. We all try every day to offer a distinguished standard of customer service. Being the nation's favorite casino is an incredible honor, and it's a testament to the perseverance of the Pechanga Tribe."
USA Today gathered a team of gaming experts to choose the best casino resorts in America, and after four weeks of voting, readers chose its top pick.
Mohegan Sun and the Foxwoods Resort Casino, both Native-owned and located in Conn., came in second and third respectively. Thunder Valley Casino Resort Casino, owned by the United Auburn Indian Community in Lincoln, Calif. was ranked 10th.
Patrick Murphy, president of the Pechanga Development Corporation, spoke about their achievement. “Twenty years ago, we opened with a very modest vision of simply creating jobs and opportunity for our tribe," he said in a news release. This month, the casino also celebrates its20th year in operation, and to do so, they will give away $100,000 during a slot tournament to thank readers for their vote.
Most recently, Pechanga tribal members announced a $285 million resort expansion that will include a luxury spa, new ballroom and meeting space, a resort-style pool complex, two restaurants and several other upgrades. Pechanga has earned a Four Diamond property rating by AAA since 2002. The casino employs more than 4,000 people.