Plans have been in the works, and more than 5 years of legal wranglings have gone into the $400 million Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Resort in Glendale, Arizona west of Phoenix. The casino is to be located “off-reservation”, and there is a bill in both houses of congress in D.C. to block any movement on the casino until the state compact expires in 2027. But that hasn’t stopped the Tohono O’odham Nation from moving forward under the belief that their site qualifies as replacement land under the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act (Public Law 99-503).

The tribe broke ground on the resort in late August, and at that time the construction manager for the tribal gaming enterprise said they would not build a temporary casino. But construction has started on the corner of 95th and Northern avenues – the final casino is described as being built at West Northern Avenue and 91st Avenue, with direct access to Loop 101. The hotel was not meant to open as part of phase I of the project and the tribe continues to build on the more than million square foot site.