In Arizona, the Tohono O’odham Nation’s new $400 million Desert Diamond Casino West Valley opened on Wednesday and within hours reached max capacity.
Located near the city of Glendale’s bustling Westgate Entertainment District, the 1.2 million square foot casino replaces the interim casino that had been operating successfully since December 2015.
The temporary casino, which is located adjacent to the new facility, closed at 8pm on Tuesday, February 18. Since its opening over four years ago, it had offered slot machines but no table games.
Able to accommodate approximately 10,000 people, about twice as many as the temporary casino, the 75,000 square foot casino features more than 1,100 slot machines, 48 table games, including Blackjack, Pai Gow Poker, Spanish 21, Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em, along with 380 bingo seats for traditional and electronic play, and a spacious 36-table poker room.
Other amenities include:
- Rock Bar: a huge bar with a second-story mezzanine overlooking the casino floor.
- Edge Bar: a casual bar situated outside Nuovo Giorno Italian Bistro.
- Food court: with a cafeteria-style dining area featuring Asian, Mexican, and American food.
- Nineteen 86 Steakhouse: the casino’s signature restaurant with aged steaks, seafood and more.
- Nuovo Giorno Italian Bistro: serving traditional Italian cuisine
- Fortune Café: casual dining serving all-day comfort food
- Winners Sports Bar: with wall-to-wall TVs and both full menu and late-night menu
According to a Feb. 13 report from The Glendale Star newspaper…
…director of Government Relations and Communications for the Tohono O’odham Nation, Treena Parvello, said…
“We’re excited to finally unveil the next phase for this unique amenity in the West Valley, which is creating jobs and opportunities. This would not have been possible without the leadership of the Tohono O’odham Nation, and the guidance of the Enterprise Management Board.”
In mid-2018, the Nation announced that the new casino would be completed by December 2019. The massive project nearly made that timeline.
“Our construction team has done an amazing job keeping this enormous project moving forward. We’re also fortunate to have a dedicated staff of team members who have kept a twenty-four-hour operation running smoothly in the middle of a massive construction effort,” said Parvello.
Originally announced on January 29, 2009, after years of court challenges and multiple attempts to circumvent federal legislation to freeze the project, the Arizona tribe opened the interim venue on December 20, 2015, having been only approved to serve non-alcoholic beverages and offer Class II gaming.
However, in July 2017, the U.S. Department of Interior gave final approval to changes in the Tribe’s gaming compact with the state clearing the way for Las Vegas-style or Class III gambling at the Phoenix suburb casino.
Less than a month later, the liquor license was approved by the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control for the new casino.
While the tribe reportedly has plans to start work on a full-service resort, including a hotel, spa, convention space and possibly a concert venue on the site, there is no construction timeline yet.
Upon completion of the final phase of the project, the total footprint will be approximately 2.3 million square feet.
According to AZ Central, the fate of the temporary casino has yet to be determined. Originally, it was designed to be a warehouse, however, an off-site storage facility is used by casino staff, so the existing building could be converted into an events center.
With the new casino’s opening, Northwest Valley residents will now be able to play table games a bit closer to home. The nearest casino is Vee Quiva, which is located on the Gila River Indian Reservation, approximately 24 miles from the Desert Diamond casino. Owned and operated by the Gila River Indian Community, Vee Quiva has 24 table games, 16 poker tables and over 900 slot machines.