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Sycuan Casino breaks ground on new hotel and resort expansion

New facility will open in 2019
Posted: 7:04 AM, Mar 28, 2017
Updated: 2017-03-28 10:05:25-04

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) - Sycuan Casino will break ground Tuesday on one of the biggest expansions in the venue's facility.

The new addition will focus on non-gaming amenities, turning the casino into more of a Las Vegas-style resort.

Sycuan plans to add a 12-story, 300-room hotel that will feature 50 suites and at least seven new restaurants. It will also include a spa and fitness center.

The new facility will also have a pool complex, with separate adult and children's pools and a lazy river.

The $226 million project is scheduled to open in 2019.

"It's something that's become indicative of casino environments in general," says Sycuan Casino General Manager John Dinius. "You need to have those non-gaming amenities."

That's never been more true in San Diego.

In addition to the brand-new Hollywood Casino in Jamul, which opened last year, Sycuan is seeing increased competition across San Diego County.

There are now 12 major casinos in the county, and seven of them have already done major renovations or non-gaming related expansions since 2010.

That's left Sycuan playing catch up. Right now, a Nielsen study shows they're just the 3rd-most popular casino in the area.

"We want to be No. 1," said Dinius. "We're very competitive in this market, and our absolute goal is to be the No. 1 casino in this region. [The expansion] has nothing to do with anybody else but ourselves and that desire to be No. 1."

The casino business is a very lucrative field. In California alone, Indian gaming is a $7.3 billion industry. The state accounts for 1/4 of all Indian gaming revenue in the U.S.

According to the most recent study by Casino City, non-gaming revenue is the fastest growing part of the industry. It showed a 5 percent growth in 2014, the most recent year of data. That's more than double that of gaming revenue.

For Dinius and Sycuan, that made their decision to invest in areas away from the gaming floor very easy.

"This will redefine the Sycuan experience," he said.