Things that went “out with the old year” include the possible early opening of SanTan Mountain Casino. The anticipated opening of the $150 million Arizona casino has been rescheduled for the late spring or early summer of 2023.
Construction is taking longer than was initially expected when the casino broke ground in October 2021, according to the SanTan Sun News.
Daniela Vizcarra, public relations manager for Gila River Resorts and Casinos, told PlayAZ that plans for what will eventually emerge in the San Tan Valley have gone essentially unaltered.
Details on the new Gila River casino property
Plans for the 160-acre casino, located on the southeast corner outside Chandler’s borders at Hunt Highway and Gilbert Road, include:
- 850 slots and table games
- Mini-baccarat, craps and roulette
- High-limit gaming salon
- Dining options
- 7,000 square-foot BetMGM Sportsbook and bar
- Casino center bar
- 6,000 square feet of functional space
The retail BetMGM Arizona Sportsbook will offer plush seating from which guests can watch live games on multiple large-screen TVs. That’s along with Arizona sports betting, of course.
There may also be a hotel in SanTan Mountain Casino’s future. Plans include road and infrastructure improvements in the area, as well.
SanTan’s neighbors in Chandler will include two of the three other Gila River properties, Wild Horse Pass casino and Lone Butte casino. The company’s Vee Quiva Casino resides in Laveen, within 25 miles of SanTan. The addition of the SanTan Mountain property will likely make Gila River the dominant casino operator in the area south of Phoenix.
For its part, the SanTan Sun News has expressed great optimism about how much tourism SanTan Mountain Casino will draw to the state in the future.
And, of course, with a new casino property comes about 700 new work opportunities. Gila River Tribe Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis expected tribal community members to fill most of the new jobs during recruitment last July.
Gila River aims to become first-choice Arizona casino
Gila is one of 16 state tribes that operate gaming in Arizona in some form.
SanTan Mountain Casino came about as part of April 2021’s gaming compact amendments, which added sports betting. Gov. Doug Ducey signed off on the revisions, and that May, the SanTan Mountain Casino project received approval.
Steelman Partners, a Las Vegas-based architectural company, designed the new SanTan Mountain Casino. Steelman is known for its designs of various premier resorts.
Gov. Lewis has spoken enthusiastically of the addition of a fourth property and its meaning for the tribe.
“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.”
As Gila River forecasts on its website, “Gila River Gaming Enterprises, Inc. will be Arizona’s first choice in casino entertainment for both work and play.”
More about Gila River casinos
As another part of crafting its entertainment dynasty, Gila River Resorts has hired a seasoned new executive director of corporate entertainment. Booking powerhouse (and returning Tucson native) Anastasia Palmer Johnson will oversee shows at SanTan Mountain Casino and the other already operating properties. Although it’s still too early for plans for SanTan Mountain Casino entertainment yet, she has already booked some big names at other Gila properties.