With Sky River Casino opening Aug. 16, there are now 66 California Indian casinos up and running. And this is the first casino in Sacramento County, with a population of 1.5 million residents as of 2020. Translation? This is going to be a popular casino.
Owned by the Wilton Rancheria, Sky River Casino was supposed to begin operations in September. However, in a surprise, doors opened at midnight on Aug. 16. Hundreds of people gathered overnight, crowding card tables, wishing for jackpots at the slots, and lining up to sign up for the casino’s rewards cards.
There is much to check out at this new attraction located 15 minutes south of Sacramento, off Highway 99 at Kammerer Road. Here’s what you need to know before you head over there.
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Sky River Casino Slots, Table Games
“Psst…you up? We’re open.” That’s what Sky River Casino staff stated in a surprise Facebook post announcing their soft opening. The $500 million complex, operated by Boyd Gaming, will still hold a grand opening in September.
Sky River sits on a 36-acre lot with its main entrance at the corner of Promenade and Sky River Parkways. It features 2,000 slot machines, 80 table games, a 12-table poker room, and a high-limit room spread over the 110,260 square-foot gaming floor. A large, circular bar sits like a roulette wheel in the center of all the action. It is the fourth-biggest Northern California casino, based on number of slot machines and table games. The casino also plans to add a spa and a hotel in the future.
An interesting note: According to CDC Gaming Reports, the company Everi provided 300 of the 2,000 slot machines at Sky River. That’s 15% — higher than the average 6% share of total slot machines Everi has provided to other casinos it works with. This is also Everi’s first deal with Boyd Gaming.
About 1,700 people are employed at Sky River Casino. Community members are encouraged to go online and apply to become team members. Plans are to have the casino operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Bars and Restaurants at Sky River Casino
There are 17 restaurants and bars to choose from at this Elk Grove casino.
SR Prime Steakhouse
Describes itself as “classics with a modern twist.” Serves steaks and seafood, along with wines, whiskies, and craft beers.
Hours: Monday — CLOSED
Tuesday-Thursday — 5-9 p.m.
Friday-Sunday — 5-10 p.m.
32 Brews Street
This is Sky River Casino’s sports bar. It’ll no doubt be a popular place to watch the game.
Hours: Open daily 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Dim Sum restaurant. This restaurant is not open yet.
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The Market at Sky River
This is Sky River Casino’s food court, consisting of 12 restaurants to choose from:
- Aurelia’s Taqueria — street tacos
- Butcher’s Burger — burgers
- CA99 Hot Chicken — southern food
- Fukoro by Kru — Japanese
- Chickie’s Pizzeria — Neapolitan pizza
- Global Eats — rotating menu
- Desserts — pretty self-explanatory!
- Koi Palace Express — Dim Sum, seafood, tea
- Ocean — seafood
- Roli Roti — rotisserie chicken, sandwiches
- Sky River Java — coffee shop
- Upper Barrel — wine
Hours: Vary by restaurant
One of three bars (including 32 Brews Street) at Sky River Casino.
Hours: Monday — 2 p.m.-midnight
Friday-Saturday — Noon-2 a.m.
Sunday — Noon-midnight
Sky River Casino’s third bar. This open latest during the week.
Hours: Monday-Thursday — Noon-2 a.m.
Friday-Sunday — 10 a.m.-2 a.m.
Sky River Rewards
At Sky River Casino, you’ll have the opportunity to sign up for the casino’s innovative loyalty program.
A Sky River Rewards card allows guests to receive points for all their activities when they visit. Folks will want to use it whenever they play slots and table games or they dine at one of the many restaurants. They can then redeem those points for Free Play or dining credits.
If guests sign up now, they’ll get a $20 Free Play to use on their first visit. Their Free Play will be loaded directly to their Sky River Rewards account. To activate it, just visit any slot machine and place a bet. It will then be available to download and use on their favorite game. However, the $20 Free Play will expire after 24 hours.
Sky River Rewards members will also be the first to know about key dates, information, and more. You just need to ensure you have a state-issued ID or driver’s license and a device that can take photos before you sign up.
Goodbye to the Ghost Mall
The opening of Sky River Casino is a significant milestone for local residents. It stands over the site of the old Ghost Mall, which was considered a blight on the landscape for years. The mall stood abandoned for 11 years before being demolished in 2019 after Boyd Gaming purchased its land. The casino deal sparked after previous plans to build a new mall in the area fell through.
California lawmakers approved a compact with the Wilton Rancheria in 2017 for the project, and the National Indian Gaming Commission approved Boyd’s management contract with the tribe in 2018.
According to the casino, Sky River will “easily contribute” $125 million to the local economy over the next few years. Wilton Rancheria Tribal Chairman Jesus Tarango says the casino will create a future of dignity and self-sufficiency for the tribe.
“This will be a transformative project that will provide resources to invest in housing, education, and healthcare for our more than 800 members, to preserve our language and culture, and to give back to the community for decades to come,” Tarango said in a press release.
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