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September 26, 2021

It is expected to open in one and a half to two years

Arizona: Gila River tribe to open fourth casino

Arizona: Gila River tribe to open fourth casino
Before the new tribal compact, the Gila River Indian Community was allowed three casinos, which it operates at Wild Horse Pass and Lone Butte in Chandler and Vee Quiva in Laveen.
United States | 06/30/2021

The new opening is allowed under the newly negotiated tribal compact with the state, signed in April by Gov. Doug Ducey. The new casino will include new table games and sports betting. It's expected to cost more than $100 million and plans could be expanded to add a hotel.

T

he tribe recently announced that a new casino will open on Gila River Indian Community land south of Chandler.

This will be the tribe’s fourth casino, allowed based on Arizona Native American tribesnewly negotiated tribal compact with the state, as reported by Arizona Republic. 

Before, the Gila River Indian Community was allowed three casinos, which it operates at Wild Horse Pass and Lone Butte in Chandler and Vee Quiva in Laveen.

The new casino will be on community trust land south of Gilbert Road and Hunt Highway, outside Chandler’s southern border. The casino is expected to open in one and a half to two years.

Governor Doug Ducey in April signed a historic agreement with Arizona’s tribes, which allows sports betting, the compact provides for casino expansions and at least four new casinos, including at least two in metro Phoenix.

The new casino will offer all the new games allowed under the revised compact, including new table games and sports betting, a representative of the community indicated. It's expected to cost more than $100 million and plans could be expanded to add a hotel.

Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis noted in a statement: “Adding the 4th casino will bring additional revenue, security, and critical services to Community members. In addition, we anticipate being able to add hundreds of new jobs that Community members can take advantage of, and we expect that many of those will be filled by community members.”

The tribe's Community Council on June 18 approved the casino project, including a budget for its design and construction. The casino is expected to create approximately 1,000 jobs once it's up and running.

Matt Orlando, Chandler Councilmember, who recalled conversations from when he was on the council at the time, said this same area was previously considered for one of the tribe's other casinos and that there were infrastructure issues and neighborhood opposition, so the tribe decided in 2007 to build Lone Butte Casino by the Loop 202 instead.

Orlando said the key will be working with the tribe to have an open dialogue so the city can express any concerns it's hearing from nearby residents and have a sense of long-term plans for the area.

Chandler Vice Mayor Mark Stewart said the city has an "impeccable" relationship with the tribe and that they are "great neighbors," partnering with Chandler on things from water to a veterans memorial.

"Anything that they do with business or with entertainment, things like that, is usually good for Chandler. It just gives us more options," he added.

Stewart says he doesn't know much about the plans yet but thinks the tribe will work with the city to minimize impacts on traffic and nearby neighborhoods so the casino fits the area.

"They’re really impactful to our community as a whole so we’re just happy that we’re part of the community with them," Stewart concluded.

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