The first phase of the upcoming Desert Diamond Casino, to be located off Loop 303 near Glendale, Arizona, is on track to open by the end of the year. The Tohono O’odham Nation, which runs the casino company, announced the news on Wednesday.
The gaming venue, to be built on 110 acres on the southeast corner of the intersection of Loop 303 and Northern Parkway, directly north of the Wildlife World Zoo, will become the tribe’s fifth casino upon completion.
The $450 million facility will include 900 slot machines, a poker room, a retail sportsbook, table games, including baccarat, blackjack, craps, and roulette, as well as dining venues.
According to Mike Bean, CEO of Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise, a future phase that will add a hotel, conference center, pool, amphitheater, and event lawn is planned. Once the whole project is completed, it is expected to create 1,000 permanent jobs, as reported by the Arizona Republic.
Rendering of the new Desert Diamond Casino
At a ceremony for the "topping off" of the casino, meaning the last beam was placed in the project, tribal officials celebrated the anticipated economic impact the casino is expected to bring to the tribe. Work began in April and has employed 5,000 construction workers.
Verlon Jose, Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, said that the revenue generated from gaming "builds communities." "It’s bringing resources to communities that no one ever imagined were out there," he said.
"The beauty of it is we get to control where and how these things go,” the chairman noted of revenue from gaming. "And the beauty is it is not our own people being taxed. The revenue comes from everyone who walks into and enjoys our facility," he added, as reported by the above-mentioned media.
Jose said there are still hundreds of miles of roads in the reservation that are in "deplorable conditions," and gaming revenue can be used to help bring infrastructure on the reservation up to a higher standard.
Desert Diamond Casinos' existing property in West Valley.
The property will mark the second Desert Diamond Casino in the West Valley. The first one opened in 2015, located off Loop 101 just north of the Westgate Entertainment District; while the tribe’s other casinos are in Southern Arizona, near Tucson.
The Tohono O’odham Tribe is able to expand into the metro Phoenix area after the U.S. government said it was able to extend its reservation by 10,000 acres after flooding at the Painted Rock Dam destroyed farming land and several communities in the 1980s.
The new project comes amid Desert Diamond Casinos’ efforts to gain further visibility in the community. In 2022 it acquired the naming rights to the former Gila River Arena in Glendale and the enterprise has been a frequent sponsor of NASCAR events at Phoenix Raceway, notes Phoenix Business Journal.
Another casino, the Gila River Resorts & Casinos Santan Mountain facility, opened this summer near Chandler. It was the first casino to be built following the updated tribal gaming compact allowed for legal sports betting and for some tribal casinos to expand their offerings or add casinos.