Tohono O’odham Nation tribe proceed with $400m Glendale casino

  • Decade long saga draws to a close as department of justice clears way for expansion to the Desert Diamond Casino
  • Expansion of the site will occupy more than one million sq ft

The Arizona-based tribe Tohono O’odham Nation have leapt through the final legal barrier to be given the green light for work to begin on the development of the new West Valley Desert Diamond Casino.

The latest development will mean that the new land-based casino (just outside the city of Glendale) will be able to include slot games and table games as currently the facility holds 1,089 bingo machines which will need to be replaced.

Good things come to those who wait

Tribal officials and the state of Arizona have been at loggerheads with one another since 2009 when State officials blocked an application by the Tohono O’odham tribe to build a large scale casino on land they had purchased near the University of Phoenix.

The state claimed that this was in violation of an existing 2003 compact agreement which prohibited the building of casinos in the Phoenix metropolitan area without the Arizona State approval.

For the next six years, a legal battle rumbled on and the tribe opened the Desert Diamond casino with a class II license after being denied a class III by the state (this meant they could not serve alcohol and only offering bingo-style slots),

Now, after years of bitterness, a settlement has finally been agreed with the tribe being granted their class III license in return for not conducting any Class II or Class III activities anywhere in the Maricopa County for a period of 25 years.

Desert Diamond Casino West Valley
Desert Diamond Casino West Valley

What to expect from the development

The talk by the tribe’s officials is that the development may take some time as there is plenty of prep work that needs to be completed first before the ground can effectively be broken.

However, once complete, the expansion of the West Valley Desert Diamond Casino will occupy more than a million-square feet and feature 1,089 Class III slots along with casino floor games such as live poker, blackjack and bingo.

The developed site will also boast five restaurants and is set to create up to 3000 jobs in the local area.

Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation Edward Manuel was delighted with the settlement in a statement regarding the project saying:

“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.”


We agree, this is good news indeed for everyone with the state almost also certain to benefit through the local economy but now the hard work begins as the work commences.

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