The Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, CA opened in the summer of 2002 and, at around 185,000 sq ft of gaming space, is the largest casino the state of California has to offer. A 522-room hotel accompanies the casino and as of 2008, both a spa and an 18-hole Arthur Hills designed Championship golf course were added.
Prior to this grand opening, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians ran the Pechanga Entertainment Center in the 1990′s where bingo was one of their main offerings. As of 2003, bingo was no more at the Pechanga Resort and Casino, a high end gaming area put into it’s space.
A summer series of bingo began as part of a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the casino, and longtime employees were asked to be a part of the event. Even those that had moved away were informed of the event, which Larry Montoya, one of the original members of Planet Bingo, took advantage of by traveling back to see everyone.
According to Diane Beyer, who holds the first player’s club card, “It’s like a family reunion in Pechanga.” Both Diane and husband Chuck Beyer were enjoying reliving bingo nights of the past and seeing old friends.
Many of the former players hope that past the summer celebration, bingo will continue to be offered by the Casino. Joaquin Fletcher, president of the Pechanga Development Corp., reports that if there is a demand that Pechenga would contemplate extending the bingo events past the 10th anniversary celebration series.
In the ballroom of the Pechanga Resort and Casino, where familiar faces and longtime players converged to celebrate the game they all love, bingo, Al Sawyer and wife Cecile join the crowd. He speaks for many in the crowd when he says, “We’re home!”
Thanks to the North County Times for bringing this story to our attention.