Here we go... another "experience" because there are no categories for gambling and watching sports.
Caliente occupies an extremely unique place in Tijuana culture, tourism, and politics. The name was originally applied to the racetrack - a huge hippodrome where movie stars once came to gamble on world class horses. Alas, the track has fallen even further than most American tracks. First it went, literally, to the dogs, now it has no racing at all. One of the most impressive buildings in town, it sits useless except to house the private zoo of owner Jorge Hank Rhon, the evil mayor.
Hank also acquired the Jai Alai (the other beautiful building in Tijuana), but Jai Alai has also gone the way of the dodo... no games at all. The betting slack was taken up by the creation of betting parlors, or "books" in the Jai Alai and track. The Caliente books became a national chain... actually a monopoly on gambling in a country in which gambling is illegal. Not a contradiction for Hank, whose father was one of the most powerful and corrupt men in the country. It's hard for Americans to get the picture on how Mexican politics works, but suffice it to say that papa Carlos Hank was mayor of Mexico City, later secretary of tourism. More important he was, with Carlos Slim (owner of the TV and telephone monopolies and one of the ten richest billionaires in the world) and Carlos Salinas Gortari (the president who probably made the biggest graft grab in the history of a country where all ex-presidents go out rich and none of them live in Mexico) a member of the "Three Carlos Gang", a triumvirate of evil that stripped Mexico of money to line their own pockets, crippling the judicial and political systems in the process. Vicente Fox's defeat of the eighty year PRI monopoly on power could be seen in many ways as a vote against the Three Carlos bunch.
But ironically in Tijuana, an area which led the nation in swinging away from the PRI machine to Fox's PAN party, Jorge Hank was elected mayor! And promptly presided over a collapse of infrastructure, a jump of of narco-slaughter and... by his own decision, demolition of over half of the mass-transit system. (It's being replaced, after much suffering, by a new system owned by Hank.) In case thoughts are crossing your mind, this is all fact, and just scratches the surface.
Almost immediately after Hank took power, a huge store that had stood on Revolución Avenue for decades suddenly vanished, to be replaced by a shiny new Caliente... well, if casino gambling wasn't illegal in Mexico you'd damn near call it a casino. Right by the new Sanborns... both the Jai Alai book and the restaurant/institution up on Eighth moving to the gut of the tourist zone. The place is absurd (see photo) and crammed full of idiotic digital slot machines. And usually doing good business.
But, I have to say this: you can go to either Caliente book and watch NFL games. And NBA and Bowl games. Banks of television screens show California horse racing and the top professional sports in Mexico, US, and the world. And, of course, you can bet on them. Right there, are house odds. You can go in there in July and place a bet on who will win the Superbowl. You can bet on all quarters of an NFL game. There are lines on everything: it's a little sports-limited Vegas. I watched the entire San Diego Chargers 14-2 season there at the bar or up in the Jai Alai book where you can take a balcony table staring right across at the screens. You can generally find somebody knowledgeable to root with you (or against you) during Futbol Americano games. Same goes for aficionados of international futbol. The chances of catching a Manchester or Real Madrid game is pretty good, and any big cups or FIFA tournaments is a sure thing.
So, can something that lets you watch the NFL in Mexico be evil? Of course it can, but we all have ways of accommodating evil to our own needs.