The Tohono O’odham Nation, nearly a decade after purchasing land to build a casino resort on the borders of Glendale and Peoria, Arizona have officially announced construction will begin on the long-planned $400-million project by the end of 2017.
The settlement essentially allows expanded gaming at the Nation’s current site, but stops any kind of expansion to other venues in the region.
Arizona began attempting to stop the casino soon after the plans were announced, but a settlement in May amending the gaming compact between the state and the Tohono O’odham Nation has ended the legal hostilities.
Arizona will now process the facility’s Class III gaming certification and liquor license in the normal course of the regulatory process and has agreed that it will not oppose the Nation’s efforts to have its land immediately adjacent to the property taken into trust.
The Nation has now agreed, during the term of the agreement, not to conduct Class II or Class III gaming anywhere else in a designated geographical area that includes metropolitan Phoenix.
The Nation first started operating its Desert Diamond Casino in December 2015 with great success. The interim facility employs nearly 600 people but only offers guests 1,089 Class II gaming devices and no table games.
In Arizona, games commonly played at casinos, such as slot machines, blackjack, craps, and roulette, are considered Class III, as well as wagering games and electronic facsimiles of any game of chance.