Gila River Hotels & Casinos broke ground on October 18 on Santan Mountain Casino on Gila River Indian Community land at the southeast corner of Gilbert Road and Hunt Highway, to build a new 160-acre, $150 million property, expected to open within the next two years.
The new casino is expected to include a nearly 7,000-square-foot BetMGM Sportsbook and bar, more than 850 slot machines and table games, a high-limit gaming salon, multiple dining options, a bar at the center of the casino floor and 6,000 square feet of function space.
The second phase is expected to include a hotel, but a timeline and details have yet to be announced.
According to the Community Impact newspaper, Deliah Rose, corporate director of brand and hospitality at Gila River Hotels & Casinos explained: “Gila River Hotels & Casinos’ fourth development will boast lush decor; breathtaking mountain views, and state-of-the-art amenities set against the backdrop of the pristine, picturesque desert”.
Groundbreaking day on October 18.
“One major benefit of having our fourth casino operate in District 4 is the opportunity for employment for local residents. We anticipate being able to add hundreds of new jobs that community members can take advantage of”.
Rose also added the construction is expected to take between 24 and 26 months to complete.
Plans for the new casino were announced earlier this year after the state’s gaming compact with Arizona’s Native American tribes was reinstated and amended, modifying the number of slots permitted per tribe and casino; sports betting; the addition of craps, baccarat and roulette; and allowed for additional gaming facilities for select tribes based on location and enrolled members.
“The state of Arizona, nonprofits and Gila River Indian Community rely on tribal gaming—12% of revenue is distributed to cities, towns and counties for community services and public safety programs,” Rose said. “Funds support economic development, education, health care, public safety and transportation.”
“Not only will Santan Mountain bring additional revenue, sustainability and critical services to our community members, it will elevate our prestige in the gaming and hospitality industry as we continue to craft an entertainment dynasty,” said Stephen Roe Lewis, Gila River Indian Community Governor, during the groundbreaking October 18.
The casino was designed by Steelman Partners, the company behind the new Resorts World Las Vegas.
“When I was approached by the tribe, I went to the site and stood there and was looking at the San Tan Mountain and thought, ‘My God, this is the most beautiful casino site in the world’. There was this slight breeze, and I thought to myself that this could be one of the first casinos that we design that features windows and outdoor spaces”, Steelman Partners CEO Paul Steelman said.
“We wanted to have these big windows overlooking a spectacular garden. We think, too, as people are recovering from COVID-19, I think the mindset will be there about enclosed spaces. People are going to want to, especially in Arizona, be outside and feel that breeze that comes across that site”, he explained.