With a groundbreaking ceremony earlier this week, the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) officially embarked on the construction of its fourth casino resort in the southern part of Arizona.
Gila River Santan Mountain Casino Resort, the upcoming tribal gaming property, is being constructed on the southeast corner of Gilbert Road and Hunt Highway in the Chandler area of Arizona. The site in question is nearly five miles south of Loop 202.
To be constructed at an estimated cost of $150 million, the Santan Mountain gaming property will feature 850 slot machines, dozens of gaming tables, a high-limit gaming room, as well as a state-of-the-art sportsbook. The sports betting operations of the property will be handled by the tribe’s retail & online sportsbook partner, BetMGM. Construction of the property is expected to last 18 to 24 months.
According to the federally-recognized native India tribe’s claims, the new casino resort project will provide a big boost to local as well as state economy by generating hundreds of temporary and permanent jobs in addition to creating a new source of tax revenue for the state exchequer.
GRIC Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis said in a statement that the upcoming gaming property would not generate additional revenue but also elevate the tribe’s prestige in the fast-expanding space of gaming and hospitality.
In the newly released statement, Lewis said, “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.”
Gila River Hotels & Casinos, the casino and hospitality division of the GRIC, was awarded approval for the project in May this year. The existing three casino resorts of the tribe are located within 25 miles of the site of the forthcoming gaming property. Laveen-based Gila Riva Vee Quiva is the tribe’s only casino that is not located in Chandler. Gila Riva Wild Horse and Gila River Lone Butte are the tribe’s two gaming properties that are located in Chandler.
There are a total of sixteen federally-recognized tribes that operate gaming venues in Arizona, and Gila River is one of them. It has long dominated the casino market in the Southern Arizona, and the forthcoming Santan Mountain Casino Resort will only solidify its dominance.