First Retail BetMGM Sportsbook Opens In Southeast Valley

Written By Dan Holmes on June 30, 2023
BetMGM will go live on June 30 with the opening of Gila River Santan Mountain Casino.

An exciting era is about to begin in Chandler, when the Gila River Santan Mountain Casino opens this Friday, June 30. This new venue brings the first casino-hosted sportsbook to the Southeast Valley of Phoenix with BetMGM Sportsbook.

Santan Mountain’s official grand opening will include many signature events, including performances by country music singer Gabby Barrett on Friday and Saturday.

BetMGM’s sportsbook at Gila River is a spacious 7,000-square-foot location that will have four betting windows. It will also have multiple kiosks (eight to be exact) for placing wagers. The spot will feature a plethora of television screens and a lounge area for sports fans.

There will be food via Upper Deck Deli, and private booths are available for watching and betting on sporting events.

New BetMGM Sportsbook touted as largest in Arizona

There are more than a dozen retail Arizona sports betting venues available to bettors. There’s also about the same number of online sportsbooks, making Arizona one of the most popular states for sports betting in the country.

According to Gila River, which operates multiple casinos in the state, Santan Mountain’s BetMGM will be the largest casino sportsbook in Arizona. The sportsbook will have a 130-foot LED screen, the largest in the Valley, and a DJ booth.

The casino project cost an estimated $180 million. It went up in 18 months. This is the first casino built by the Gila River Tribe after the state legalized sports betting. It’s located at Gilbert Road and Santan Mountain Drive, just south of Hunt Highway.

The new casino will feature craps and roulette, which is now allowed under a revised compact between the state and tribal nations. The new casino will also have 813 slot machines on the gaming floor, table games, and a full-service specialty restaurant.

Gila River tribe will now run four casinos in Arizona

Gila River Indian Community is a federally recognized tribe with approximately 14,000 members. The tribe is headquartered in Sacaton. The tribe and BetMGM Arizona have a partnership that enables BetMGM to have access to the sports betting market in the state.

Gila River currently operates two casinos in west Chandler. Both operate BetMGM sportsbooks. One is Gila River Wild Horse Pass, 14 miles away. The other is Gila River Lone Butte Casino, about 20 miles away.

The tribe also operates Vee Quiva, located in Laveen Village.

BetMGM offers retail sportsbooks as well as mobile sports betting in the state. It launched its online sportsbook in 2021. As of March, BetMGM has reported $1.4 billion in total handle, with revenue of $148 million. BetMGM has paid more than $5.6 million in taxes on that revenue.

In other Arizona casino news, the Tohono O’odham Nation has begun construction on its latest Desert Diamond Casino location near Loop 303 and Northern Avenue in Glendale. The Diamond Desert Casino in Glendale will host a retail sportsbook. It is expected to open in late 2024.

Photo by Gila River Santan Mountain Casino./Courtesy
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes writes about sports betting, sports media, and sports betting legislative matters. He's the author of three books, and previously reported for Major League Baseball, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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