The Tohono O'odham Nation owns and operates the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino and Resort in Glendale, Arizona. Photo: WestValleyOpportunity
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Tohono O'odham Nation announces $400M expansion of newest casino

The Tohono O'odham Nation is undertaking a major expansion of its newest casino after resolving a contentious dispute in Arizona.

The tribe plans to spend $400 million to make the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino and Resort even bigger. Plans call for a one-million square-foot facility with a larger gaming floor, five restaurants, bars, slot machines, table games and other amenities.

“With this announcement we are moving forward with our promise to create new jobs and positive economic opportunity for members of the Tohono O’odham Nation, the West Valley and the citizens of Arizona,” Chairman Ed Manuel said in a press release on Friday. “This beautiful new facility will be a positive economic engine for decades to come.”

The expansion marks a dramatic turnaround for the facility, which opened in December 2015. Barely a month ago, the tribe announced a settlement that paved the way for the addition of Class III games like slot machines, black jacket and related offerings to the casino.

Arizona Casino Wars: Tribes battle over new gaming facility in the Phoenix area

The dispute arose after the tribe announced the casino way back in January 2009. The state refused to certify the new facility for Class III games even though numerous court rulings supported the tribe's right to engage in gaming at the site in Glendale, a suburb in the West Valley of Phoenix.

Still, legislation that would curtail the tribe's gaming activities remains a threat. Rivals like the Gila River Indian Community and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community have spent millions of dollars in lobbying fees in hopes of stopping the new development, which they fear could erode their existing facilities in the Phoenix area.

But with the state on its side, the tribe is moving forward. Construction is expected to take about 20 months.

“We are very excited to be moving forward with a world-class resort and casino that will offer a wide range of new amenities to our guests and create opportunity for the West Valley,” Andy Asselin, the chief executive officer of the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise said. “This has been a long time coming, and we will continue to work with the community to ensure that construction proceeds smoothly.”

Related Stories:
Open Secrets: Indian gaming battles make for well-fed lobbyists (June 1, 2017)
Tohono O'odham Nation secures victory in long-running gaming dispute (May 17, 2017)
Tohono O'odham Nation heads to trial in casino feud with state (December 20, 2016)