Mike Hiles, Special to Valley News
The Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians fought long and hard to open a casino on tribal land a quarter of a century ago. Much has changed since the early days, most notably the construction and opening of the current Soboba Casino Resort in 2019. In August, silver anniversary promotions are in place to commemorate this milestone.
Jason Cozart has been in his current position of assistant general manager since 2018. As a tribal member he is grateful for the opportunities that have been afforded to the tribe because of tribal gaming.
“Having a hand in building a future for our tribe has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Cozart, 42, said. “Over the past 25 years, I have been fortunate to witness the evolution of our tribe and our gaming enterprise. Simply put, everything has changed. Soboba Casino Resort is proud to be one of the largest employers in the region, supporting not only our tribe but the surrounding communities.”
Along with the decades of offering an outlet for guests to enjoy table games, slot machines, special events and great food and drinks, the casino has also seen many employees find lifelong careers within its doors.
About 25 team members have been working for Soboba for more than 20 years in various departments throughout the casino – from dealers to slot attendants and many positions in between. Shiloh Maddox, a Hemet resident, is a slot operations manager who oversees the floor ensuring that it is staffed, and any minor issues are corrected as soon as possible.
“Professionally, Soboba Casino Resort gave me a career,” Maddox said. “I didn’t think at 19 that I would find the place I was supposed to be. It has allowed me to raise my children in the same community. I have witnessed Soboba Casino Resort become the destination we all knew it could be and we aren’t done.”
Amber Escorpiso has been a table games dealer for more than 18 years but worked in the food and beverage department before that position. She enjoys the camaraderie and family-like atmosphere with her co-workers and department leadership as well as the support and motivation from Cozart.
“I also take great pride in knowing that my service helps contribute to a bright future for the Soboba Nation,” she said. “In addition to the opening of the new property, the highlights of my tenure here include seeing the joy that the tribe’s yearly toy drive brings to families during the holidays and the ways the tribe’s philanthropic efforts have enriched the community such as seeing the Soboba logo over the San Jacinto High School football field.”
Environmental services manager Hilda Arriaga grew up in Hemet and said she wouldn’t think of working with any other department than the one she is in, which provides cleaning and safety assurances for guests.
“No matter what department you work in, you will still receive the same attention and opportunity to grow,” she said. “The biggest changes I have seen are actually on the tribe. They had a goal of becoming a great pillar of the community and be a great job source for this town and they are doing a great job.”
Cozart said that considering the current COVID-19 situation, Soboba Casino Resort’s anniversary celebration will not be exactly what the team had planned it to be.
“However, this is certainly an important milestone for the tribe and Soboba Casino Resort,” he said. “We hope to show our appreciation for our team members, and our loyal guests who have been with us every step of the way.”
Special promotions will take place throughout the month culminating Friday, Aug. 28, when 25 lucky winners will receive the ultimate Soboba Casino experience with fine dining, a two-night hotel stay and $250 in free slot play. For a chance to win the “25 & Drive” car, as well as your share of $320,000 in cash and prizes plus a real silver bar, visit Soboba Casino Resort Fridays and Saturdays. On Tuesdays “Silver Sparks” offers silver from a luxury Fifth Avenue jeweler and a chance to win your share of more than $62,800 in prizes. Thursdays’ guests can win their share of up to $40,000 in cash and promotion chips.
For more information, plus rules and restrictions, visit http://soboba.com or Soboba Rewards.