|By Michelle DeArmond, The
Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Mar. 26, 2008 - The Pechanga Resort & Casino has closed two nightclubs because of alcohol-related problems.
The Eagle's Nest and the Silk club, a popular attraction that featured go-go dancers, were shut down last week because of unspecified alcohol issues.
"Tribal leaders have determined that an unacceptable number of incidents involving alcohol consumption have occurred at Pechanga Resort & Casino," said Amy Minniear, president of the Pechanga Development Corp., in a statement. "We are deeply troubled by these incidents and are taking numerous and decisive actions to prevent them from occurring in the future."
Pechanga did not reply to requests for details on whether the incidents involved fights, underage drinking or other problems. The tribe also did not say what it will do with those rooms while the clubs are closed or how long they will be closed.
Capt. Jerry Williams, who supervises the Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Temecula station, said Pechanga patrons sometimes become too intoxicated to drive or get into fights, but not in excessive numbers. "I was surprised to hear that the clubs were closing. That was an internal decision made by Pechanga," Williams said. "In my opinion, it's responsible management on their part."
The casino pays for three or four officers to work there on weekend nights, he said. The officers' focus usually was on the Silk nightclub, which attracted up to 3,000 guests each night, Williams said. "There are more problems (at the casino than other drinking establishments), but I think it's 10,000 to 30,000 people driving there every day," he said. "With that many people being there and alcohol served," problems will occur.
The California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control has taken no disciplinary action against the casino, said John Carr, a spokesman. The agency will not confirm whether it's investigating a business, he said. The closures caught the attention of casino managers elsewhere in the Inland area, although none reported similar problems. The Morongo Casino Resort & Spa had earlier issues with one of its nightclubs.
"The Vibe, which was our venue similar to Pechanga, was closed in mid-December already, and the reason why was we were experiencing some of the similar problems to Pechanga," said Patrick Dorinson, a public-relations consultant for the tribe. "And that was not consistent with the Morongo entertainment experience we try to provide our customers." The tribe now uses that space for a showroom and has a nightclub in the resort tower that has "a very controlled atmosphere" and a dress code, Dorinson said.
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