D. Schwartz (Ed.)

Document Type

Occasional Paper

Publication Date


Publication Title

Center for Gaming Research Occasional Paper Series: Paper 41

Publisher Location

Las Vegas, Nevada



First page number:


Last page number:



Many people do not realize that Las Vegas, Nevada is home to a unique niche tourism: it is overwhelmingly the vacation destination of choice for residents of the state of Hawai’i, even affectionately termed the “Ninth Island.” Many credit the strong Hawaiian interest in Las Vegas to the fact that there is no legal gaming in the state of Hawai’i, however, data indicates that it is not just the opportunity to gamble that bring Hawaiian tourists here, but also the specifc amenities and experience offered at one particular hotel and casino, The California Hotel. Nicknamed “The Cal,” this establishment is overwhelmingly the Hawaiian choice for sleeping, gambling, eating, and socializing. Although the exterior of The Cal still reflects its original identity as a California-themed establishment, the interior reveals its forty-year history of transformation into a Hawaiian homeaway- from-home, with island themed décor, banquet rooms labeled in the Hawaiian language, and multiple eateries offering Hawaiian favorites. This paper examines the “tourist imaginary” created at The Cal by the Boyd Gaming Corporation, and suggests that it has become a “lovemark,” that is now part of the Hawaiian pan-ethnicity known as being a local, or kama’aina.


Hawaiians; Tourism; Gaming; Las Vegas; Lovemark


Gaming and Casino Operations Management | Hospitality Administration and Management | Tourism and Travel

File Format


File Size

136 Kb



Publisher Citation

Cynthia Van Gilder & Dana R. Herrera.“Ninth Island, Las Vegas: Hawaiian Gaming Tourism and The California Hotel.” Occasional Paper Series, 41. Las Vegas: Center for Gaming Research, UNLV University Libraries, 2018.