Last chance to participate in Toy Drive ◆ By Mike Hiles
Soboba Casino will keep guests busy with several chances to win big during the month of December. While children may have visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, those 21 and older can dream of cold hard cash to use to purchase that perfect Christmas gift or host a holiday party.
On Fridays through Dec. 22, from 4 to 10 p.m. casino-goers can "Connect to Win" their share of $22,400. With two winners per hour, there are sure to be lots of happy people playing a giant Connect 4 style game.
"Reindeer Games" aren't just played at the North Pole. On Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 23, a winner will be announced each half hour from 4 to 9:30 p.m. Who will Santa call to lead his sleigh? Pick the right reindeer and win. Guests will print a ticket at any promotional kiosk and drop it into barrels representing different reindeer. Every half hour, the wheel will be spun to determine which reindeer barrel a name will be drawn from at random.
There is also a Stocking Stuffer bonus with a chance to win $5,000 cash. The reindeer game will offer guests a chance to win their share of up to $125,000 in cash and prizes. A grand prize winner of $10,000 in cash will be announced at 10 p.m. on Dec. 23.
From 3 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 28, 29, and 30, visitors will have a chance to win the "Car of Your Dreams." Every half hour during this promotion, one winner will receive a free slot play prize. Every day the prizes get bigger culminating in one winner driving away in a brand-new Corvette on Dec. 30 at 9 p.m. Every Club Soboba member receives one free entry per day for a chance to win the car by swiping their card at any kiosk.
The Soboba Gives Back Toy Drive is nearing the end of its run with a goal to collect 6,000 toys to meet all the requests that the Soboba Foundation receives from local nonprofits and organizations that rely on these donations to provide a joyous holiday for local families. The charitable event was started 11 years ago by Tribal Member and community leader Rose Salgado.
San Jacinto Unified School District, received 800 toys plus 105 $20 gift cards for older siblings, during its annual "Unstuff the Bus" event on Tuesday. The toy distribution event is a partnership of Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, the Hemet/San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce and the school district that benefits students and their families.
Casino guests who take one unwrapped toy valued at $20 or more, with its receipt, will receive a $40 free slot play voucher. The toy drive is on Monday from 12 to 8 p.m.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of volunteers that range from eight to 12 for each two-hour shift, guests pass through the lines quickly so they can go inside the casino to try their luck at walking away with more than they arrived with.
Volunteers include Soboba Foundation board members, Tribal Administration employees, TANF, Higher Education scholarship recipients, casino management, Native Challenge members and hard-working facilities crew members at Soboba Casino who work tirelessly to ensure all the toys are stored properly. Workers transport toys from the drop-off site at the front of the casino to designated storage areas. They do all the setting up and breaking down of the collection areas and help sort toys for distribution to various organizations.
"None of this can be done without all the parties involved," Soboba Foundation President Sally Moreno-Ortiz said. "The casino management and staff, along with the Foundation, Tribal Administration, Tribal Council and the support of the community, make children in our community a priority this holiday season."
As 2017 ends and party plans begin, Soboba Casino will be gearing up for its Bayou Blues New Year's Eve Party with Blowin' Smoke and DJ Mike "Da Chef" on Dec. 31. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person and will go on sale at the Soboba box office starting Dec. 4. Each ticket entitles the purchaser to a souvenir champagne glass to welcome in 2018.
The Soboba Casino is at 23333 Soboba Road in San Jacinto.