Gila River Indian Community Plans 4th Phoenix Casino Near Chandler

A new casino will open on the lands of the Gila River Indian community south of Chandler, the tribe recently announced.

It will be the tribe’s fourth casino, licensed based on the new tribal pact negotiated between Arizona’s Native American tribes and the state. Previously, the Gila River Indian community was entitled to three casinos, which it operated at Wild Horse Pass and Lone Butte in Chandler and Vee Quiva in Laveen.

The new casino will be located on community land south of Gilbert Road and Hunt Highway, outside the southern border of Chandler. The casino should open in a year and a half to two years.

Governor Doug Ducey in April signed a historic agreement with the tribes of Arizona, marking the biggest game update in the state in decades. In addition to allowing sports betting, the pact provides for casino expansions and at least four new casinos, including at least two in the Phoenix metro area.

The new casino will feature all new games permitted by the revised pact, including new table games and sports betting, a community representative said. It is expected to cost over $100 million and plans could be expanded to add a hotel.

Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis said in a statement that the tribe had been negotiating with the state for years for a modified pact. He said the fourth casino is “historic news” for the community.

“The addition of a 4th casino will provide additional revenue, security and essential services to community members. Additionally, we expect to be able to add hundreds of new jobs for community members to take advantage of, and we anticipate that many of these will be filled by members of the community.

The casino is expected to create around 1,000 jobs once it is operational.

The tribe’s community council on June 18 approved the casino project, including a budget for its design and construction.

The Gila River Indian Community Reservation covers nearly 600 square miles south of Phoenix, extending from the Southeast Valley and parts of Pinal County into the Laveen area of ​​the Southwest Valley.

When Ducey signed the amendment compact in mid-April, Lewis said the tribe did not yet know where or when its fourth casino would open.

“It’s something that definitely needs to be looked into,” he said at the time. “We want to grow the market, but we want to grow it responsibly.”

Another newly licensed casino in the metro area may be built by the Tohono O’odham Nation near the 303 Loop and Northern Parkway in the West Valley.

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The casino will be south of Chandler

Chandler officials heard from nearly 30 residents concerned about the potential impacts of the new casino near their homes, city spokesman Matt Burdick said in an email to The Arizona Republic. Current developments nearby are residential neighborhoods and golf courses.

Burdick said the city has no jurisdiction over this matter and will not be involved in any review or approval of the casino plan. But, he said, the city can communicate residents’ concerns and city development plans so the tribe can make “informed decisions” about the site, he wrote. The city has no plans to expand Gilbert Road or Hunt Highway.

A tribal community representative said they will contact the local community to address issues such as traffic and ensure they are a good neighbour.

That same area was previously being considered for one of the tribe’s other casinos, said Chandler board member Matt Orlando, who recalled conversations from when he was on the board. He said there were infrastructure issues and neighborhood opposition, so the tribe decided in 2007 to build the Lone Butte Casino near Loop 202 instead.

Orlando said Key will work with the tribe to have an open dialogue so the city can voice any concerns it hears from nearby residents and get an idea of ​​long-term plans for the area..

Chandler Vice Mayor Mark Stewart said the town had an “impeccable” relationship with the tribe and they were “great neighbours”, partnering with Chandler on issues ranging from water to the memorial of Veterans.

“Anything they do with business or with entertainment, things like that, is usually good for Chandler. It just gives us more options,” he said.

Stewart says he doesn’t know much about the plans yet, but thinks the tribe will work with the city to minimize impacts to traffic and nearby neighborhoods so the casino fits the area.

“They really impact our community as a whole, so we’re just happy to be part of the community with them,” Stewart said.

Republic reporter Ryan Randazzo contributed to this story.

Contact the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-4282. Follow her on Twitter @alsteinbach.

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