Gila River Resumes Activity On New Casino Near Chandler

Written By Derek Helling on June 29, 2021 - Last Updated on June 30, 2021
Plans for a Gila River Chandler casino are in motion again as the tribal group as a result of a new gaming compact with Arizona.

After almost a decade and a half, a Gila River Chandler casino is back on the agenda. As a result of the new gaming compact between the Gila River Indian Community and the state of Arizona, a new AZ tribal casino is coming to Phoenix’s eastern suburbs.

The facility will boast everything the compacts afford the tribal community. Plans for the facility also signal the community’s intent to compete for an AZ sports betting license.

A Gila River Chandler casino is in the works

According to Alison Steinbach of the Arizona Republic, Gila Rivers Casinos will build the new casino on land it owns south of Chandler. The plot is adjacent to Gilbert Rd and Hunt Hwy.

When open, it will represent the fourth Gila River casino. It will also be the third near Chandler. The other two are the Lone Butte and Wild Horse Pass. The Vee Quiva Casino is near Laveen.

Community leaders approved the project on June 18. However, they actually are picking back up plans they decided to shelve in 2007. At that time, the community decided to build the Lone Butte property on its current location by the Loop 202 instead.

Right now, the plan is to complete construction within two years. Projections also call for the creation of 1,000 permanent jobs and peg the cost of the complex at over $100 million.

The property will offer patrons of the other three Gila River casinos much of what they are accustomed to, including a hotel. The new table games afforded tribal casino operators in AZ – baccarat, craps, and roulette among them – will also be available.

The plans also include another form of gambling that is new to AZ tribal casinos. However, the compact terms alone don’t decide whether the casino will offer it.

Gila River Casinos betting on a license

AZ tribal casinos – some of them, anyway – will be in on legal sports wagering. The thing is, while there are 24 tribal casino operators who have compacts with AZ, there are only 10 available licenses to spread between them.

Thus far, it’s not certain that 11 or more potential licensees will seek licensure. To date as well, the AZ Dept. of Gaming has not disclosed how it will determine which applicants are disappointed and which are satisfied in that scenario.

Plans for this new casino do include a sportsbook. Obviously, that suggests Gila River Casinos will throw their hat in the ring. Unlike whether to build the casino on their sovereign land, the state will have some say in this.

Over 30 people who reside near the new casino location have expressed concerns to Chandler leadership about traffic congestion and noise pollution. However, even if the city was staunchly opposed to the project, there would be nothing it could do.

The Gila River Community owns the land and the compact terms give them leeway to run a fourth casino. That same compact gives them the room to operate a sportsbook there as well if they can secure a license.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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