Casinos in Los Angeles are kind of an odd entity. For starters, you'll probably see the word "gaming" used far more often than "gambling." That's because with the exception of those on tribal land—think day trip destinations like San Manuel, Morongo, Pechanga—California casinos are limited to table games like poker and blackjack. So you won't find slot machines and certainly not roulette or craps. Instead of Las Vegas-like skyscrapers and bachelor party hangouts, Los Angeles casinos are more like catering hall-sized rooms that all seem to be clustered in South and Southeast L.A. That said, almost all of these local casinos have undergone or are in the process of major renovations that signal a shift from poker enthusiast clubs to glitzy cocktail-filled nightlife destinations. It's not quite Vegas, but you'll find plenty of places to try your luck—ahem, we mean skill—with these best casinos in Los Angeles.
The best casinos in Los Angeles
This Bell Gardens card room has been open since 1984, but in late 2015 the venue expanded into a seven-story, 70-room, 29-suite hotel stocked with a gastropub, cocktail lounge, spa, pool deck and private cabanas. The new VIP card rooms have that Vegas club-chic aesthetic—think crystals, white chairs and blue lights—while the existing colossal card room (there are more than 200 tables) has more of a banquet hall vibe, with poker games that start at $10 buy-ins.
Once the home of a historic horseracing track, Hollywood Park is due for a major overhaul in the coming years thanks to plans for a mixed-use development, entertainment complex and the under-construction football stadium for the Rams. That wave of revitalization has hit the casino, too; a mid-2016 renovation has created a swanky new space with a proper restaurant, lounge, 125 card tables and an increase in high-limit play. It's a welcome change from the old gray, neon-clad building next door.
With more than 240 tables for various card games, Commerce Casino is actually the largest card room on earth—suck it, Vegas. The on-site hotel and poker and blackjack tables aren't prticularly swanky, but a recent addition—the late-night, Playboy-themed lounge, the Lucky Rabbit Party Pit—has attempted to sex up the casino.
Yes, it's that Hustler, scantily clad blackjack dealers and all. This card room from Larry Flynt has the pornography entrepreneur's name all over it. While most will stick to low-stakes poker and blackjack, high-rolling tournaments come through a couple of times a year. Flynt also owns the nearby Lucky Lady Casino, which is due for a massive renovation by 2020.
You don't need to trek all the way out to Vegas to feed some slots. San Manuel is the closest casino to L.A. that allows slot machines, as well as bingo. You won't, however, find roulette or craps, per gambling legislation. The casino features a number of in-house restaurants, lounges and entertainment spaces.