Tag Archives: casino


House, Senate panels forward bills to halt Glendale casino

WASHINGTON – Bills that would halt construction on a Tohono O’odham casino in Glendale passed committees in both the House and the Senate Wednesday.

The Keep the Promise Act of 2015 – introduced by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Trent Franks, R-Glendale – would “prohibit gaming activities on certain Indian land in Arizona until the expiration of certain gaming compacts” in 2027.

“I am pleased the Senate Indian Affairs Committee has advanced this legislation in the Senate,” McCain said in a statement released by his office after the bill passed the committee on a voice vote.

“I introduced this bill because of objections raised by a number of Arizona mayors and other local elected officials who do not approve of this or any other Indian casino being airdropped into their communities,” his statement said.

The House bill, passed by a subcommittee last month, was formally sent to the full House Wednesday.

Tohono O’odham officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but have repeatedly criticized what they call the “job-killing legislation” by Franks and McCain. The West Valley Resort and Casino would create an estimated 3,000 permanent jobs, said the tribe, which broke ground on the project last year.

“After the Nation has consistently followed the law, it is shameful for the Senate to consider breaking the federal government’s word, and placing taxpayers on the hook for this special interest earmark,” said Tohono O’odham Chairman Ned Norris in a statement posted on the tribe’s web site.

“If this legislation passes, all tribes should question whether Congress can be trusted to keep its word in land and water rights settlements,” the statement said.

But other tribes welcomed the vote Wednesday. The Tohono O’odham project is opposed by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa, Gila River and Fort McDowell Yavapai tribes, which all have casinos in the Valley.

“The community stands united with the governor of Arizona, the attorney general, many city leaders in the Phoenix area, and tribal leaders throughout the state, in confirming that voters never intended to have ‘casino reservations’ created by a tribe in the middle of a city, more than 100 miles away from its reservation,” said Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community President Delbert Ray Sr. in a statement Wednesday.

“Additionally, this legislation is consistent with the state’s position that principles of fraud and misrepresentation nullify any contention that the Tohono O’odham Nation may create a new casino reservation in the middle of Glendale, at a site across the street from a public high school,” Ray’s statement said.

The statement from the Gila River Indian Community said that without action from Congress, the Tohono O’odham could build three other casinos on other off-reservation lands they have in Maricopa.

But the Tohono O’odham have pointed to a Congressional Budget Office report on the House version of the bill that said the tribe would likely sue Congress if the bills passed, which could ultimately cost taxpayers up to $1 billion in litigation and settlements.

“This announcement by the CBO – a nonpartisan agency which produces independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues – calls into question why fiscally conservative members of Congress would want to support this legislation,” the tribe said in a statement last week.

That statement quoted Norris as charging the bills’ backers with “working so hard to send Arizona workers to the unemployment line.”

“Now we also are trying to understand why they would be willing to make American taxpayers foot the bill for creating this job-killing legislation, all to protect the market share of a few wealthy special interests,” his statement said.

weekend jetaway

PGA Star Tom Lehman to host Weekend Jetaway

Tickets are now available for the 3rd Annual Weekend Jetaway presented by AXA Advisors Southwest, Aero Jet Services and Prisma, which will take place on Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and will feature music, culinary creations from leading Valley chefs, cocktails, surprise “elevated” entertainers and casino games set in a private jet hangar within the Scottsdale Airport. During the event, guests will take part in a casino-style dice game, with several lucky winners taking home a multitude of lux prizes, including the grand prize – a luxurious all-inclusive, first-class vacation on a private jet for four. Hosted by celebrated PGA golf star Tom Lehman, tickets are $100/person and available now at www.weekendjetaway.org.

Among the popular restaurants and beverage partners sampling scrumptious items from their Fall and Winter menus at the event are: Alliance Beverage, Proof Canteen at the Four Seasons Scottsdale Resort Troon North, Talavera at the Four Seasons Scottsdale Resort Troon North, Sassi, SOL Cocina, The Yacht Club, Tom’s Thumb Marketplace, The Mission and The Melting Pot. A silent auction including resort, spa, golf, dining and vacation packages will also take place, with proceeds from the entire evening benefiting Elevate Phoenix.

“Elevate Phoenix is a unique and often life-changing program for Arizona youth that provides in-school teaching; after-school mentoring/tutoring; career instruction/ post-secondary preparation; character, life skills and peer leadership development; community service; adventure activities; and reading/literacy improvement within urban public schools,” says Scottsdale resident Lehman, who also serves on the Elevate Phoenix board of directors.

AXA Advisors Southwest, Aero Jet Services, Jet Set Magazine and Prisma are serving as the presenting and title sponsors of the event. Additional current sponsors include Phocus Financial and Alliance Beverage Distribution Company. Limited sponsorship packages starting at $500 are still available at weekendjetaway.org.

“In 2012, AXA Advisors Southwest dreamt up this special event as our way to give back to this great community,” says Dillan Micus, executive vice president of AXA Advisors Southwest. “Our team donated its time, money and more – and with the help of amazing partners, sponsors and party-goers, we were able to gross more than $130,000 our first two years. We welcome the community to come out for the best party of the fall to help us double this number!”

This is a 21 and over event.

Chandler resident Charlene Vance became the latest Casino Arizona jackpot winner on Aug. 25. She took home $98,000.

Bingo player takes home more than $90,000 at Casino Arizona

Casino Arizona, an enterprise of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, announced a winner in its U-Pick progressive bingo game. Chandler resident Charlene Vance became the latest jackpot winner trying her luck at the property’s O-75 in 20 numbers or less on Aug. 25. She took home $98,000.

“We are no stranger to jackpots at Casino Arizona, but $98,000 is truly life changing,” said Ramon Martinez, director of public relations for Casino Arizona. “It is thrilling to be a part of such a significant event in a person’s life and further to have played a role in it. We couldn’t be happier for Charlene!”

A bingo favorite, U-Pick allows players to select eight numbers between one and 75. A jackpot occurs when a participant’s eight numbers are chosen within the first 20 numbers called. As a progressive game, the jackpot for U-Pick begins at $5,000 and is increased $200 each session until it is won. The jackpot is then reset once again.

Casino Arizona’s 1000-seat Bingo Hall features various options for fun. In addition to oversized flat screen monitors, the facility offers 16 weekly sessions and a variety of food and drink specials. Bingo games offered include Double Action 9-Pack, Bonanza, Magic Ball, Starburst Mini’s, Sizzling 7, Salt River and Double Action Coverall just to name a few.

For more information on Casino Arizona’s Bingo games and prizes, call (480) 850-7777 or visit http://www.casinoarizona.com/bingo.aspx.


Glendale OKs casino near Westgate

After months of diligent negotiation, the Tohono O’odham Nation and the City of Glendale have finalized an agreement ensuring that the West Valley Resort project provides significant mutual benefits to both communities for years to come.

In taking this step, the City of Glendale confirms its full support of the Nation’s project, which will include construction of a $400 million resort and casino on its West Valley property. The agreement conveys Glendale’s desire that the Nation constructs and opens the West Valley Resort as expeditiously as possible in order to create jobs and positive economic opportunity in the community.

Under the agreement, Glendale also recognizes that the Nation’s project has never been within its corporate limits or the boundaries of any other city or town. The City supports taking the entirety of the Nation’s West Valley property into federal trust as reservation land, as had been originally requested. Glendale will also withdraw from any litigation against the project.

In return, the Nation has committed to providing Glendale with annual funding in excess of $26 million during a 20-year agreement, including a one-time payment of $500,000 within the next ten days. As promised from day one, the Nation will pay for construction of the facility, as well as municipal services and all infrastructure costs in and around the project site. The Nation will then pay Glendale’s monthly standard fees and service charge rates for commercial customers. This support is in addition to the economic benefits the project will bring to Glendale and the region.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. said, “This agreement marks a major step forward for the Nation, Glendale, and the entire West Valley, one that will lead to greater prosperity for all our communities. The Nation looks forward to continued partnership with Glendale as we work together to create jobs and a world-class entertainment destination.”

In March 2014 the Glendale City Council also joined with other cities in the West Valley in opposing HR 1410, special interest legislation designed to stop the West Valley Resort and the thousands of jobs and economic development it would create.

Glendale is the fifth largest city in Arizona with more than 234,000 residents and four distinct areas: the Historic Downtown, the Sports and Entertainment District, the Arrowhead area and the Loop 303 expansion. The city is home to Luke Air Force Base, professional sports teams from the NFL, NHL and MLB and several higher education facilities. Visit www.glendaleaz.com for more information.

The Tohono O’odham Nation is a federally-recognized Indian tribe, with existing reservation lands in Maricopa County, Pinal County, and Pima County, Arizona. According to the Nation, the West Valley Resort will be located at 95th and Northern avenues and will generate thousands of new jobs and more than $300 million in annual economic impact. For more information, visit www.westvalleyopportunity.com.

Top 5: Arizona Casinos - Experience AZ Fall-Winter 2012

Glendale supports tribe’s casino plan

The Glendale City Council has approved a resolution to support the Tohono O’Odham Nation’s proposal to build a casino near the city’s sports and entertainment district.

The council voted 4-3 Tuesday to back the plan that the tribe projects will have a $300 million annual economic impact.

The Tohono O’Odham has been pushing a proposal to build a sprawling, Las Vegas-style casino since January 2009.

The Gila River Indian Community opposes the plan, saying it violates zoning and state laws and threatens the balance of tribal gaming in Arizona.

Opponents also argue a 2002 voter-backed compact bars more casinos from opening in metro Phoenix.

Gila River tribal officials say opponents will continue to do everything possible to stop the project.

The Tohono O’odham already operates several casinos in southern Arizona.


DOI decision keeps Glendale casino plan alive

The Tohono O’odham Nation says the U.S. Department of the Interior has reaffirmed its decision that the tribe’s property lies within unincorporated Maricopa County.

Tribal officials say that’s a key requirement for taking the land into trust. They still hope to build a massive resort and casino on the edge of Glendale and have been pushing that plan since 2009.

But opponents have argued a 2002 voter-backed compact barred more casinos from opening in metro Phoenix.

The Gila River Indian Community opposes the casino plan, saying it violates zoning and state laws.

Gila River tribal officials say they will decide soon whether to take legal action again.

They also say the Interior Department has yet to decide whether the Tohono O’Odham Nation has permission to have gaming on the land.


RED AWARDS 2014: Best Hospitality Project

On Feb. 26, AZRE hosted the 9th Annual RED Awards reception at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix to recognize the most notable commercial real estate projects of 2013 and the construction teams involved. AZRE held an open call for nominations and more than 100 projects were submitted by architects, contractors, developers and brokerage firms in Arizona. Click here to view all 2014 RED Awards Winners.‎

Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino
Developer: Gila River Indian Community
Contractor: Tutor Perini Building Corp.
Architect: Friedmutter Group
Project Manager: Parsons-Tynan Group
Size: 760,000 SF
Completed: July 2013

vee-quivaVee Quiva Hotel & Casino is a goliath in the desert, bringing a Las Vegas quality casino and hotel to Arizona. The property is energy efficient, with lighting systems that are programmed to detect movement and adjust accordingly. The floors ventilate clean air into the casino, keeping the air fresh without using excessive amounts of energy. The casino used local concrete and aggregate products, and native plants were used for the landscaping in order to reduce water usage on the property. The biggest energy efficient feature in the new casino is the environmentally friendly electrical, plumbing and mechanical system on-site. The water is chilled and heated with energy efficient units that supply the casino and hotel with water.

Twin Arrows Wins at G2E

Twin Arrows Named 'Best Native American Casino' at G2E Conference

The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise’s (NNGE) Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, located 20 minutes east of Flagstaff, Ariz., was recognized as the top Native American Casino Facility in the nation at this week’s G2E (Global Gaming Expo) Conference. The Friedmutter Group of Las Vegas, which designed the structure in collaboration rsz_twin_arrows_2011-04-20_birds_eye_renderingwith Navajo tribal members, and JBA Consulting Engineers, which led the active systems engineering, submitted an entry for the stunning 267,000-square-foot facility that showcases Navajo culture and original artworks throughout the property.

“We are grateful to The Friedmutter Group of Las Vegas and JBA Consulting Engineers for their ability to culturally infuse Navajo into the building by incorporating the vision of our team in the exterior and interior designs, décor and engineering,” states Derrick Watchman, NNGE CEO. “We are proud to be recognized as the number one Native American Casino Facility in the Nation and congratulate The Friedmutter Group, JBA Consulting Engineers and our employees for this prestigious recognition.”

He added, “We would also like to thank our culture committee that worked tirelessly to ensure Navajo traditions and culture were accurately and appropriately showcased.”

Best Native American Casino Facility in Design and Engineering

G2E’s Casino Design Awards – the preeminent design awards program for the gaming industry – recognize excellence in architecture, design, engineering and construction. Each entry was judged on its own merits by a panel of five distinguished individuals selected for professional expertise in design, planning and construction. All licensed Architectural Firms, Design Companies and Construction Companies were eligible to enter.

Judges evaluated The Friedmutter Group, JBA Consulting Engineers and Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort on the following criteria:

•    Unique and original thinking
•    Compatibility and harmony of the project to its environment
•    Consideration of geographic and climatic conditions
•    Use of appropriate or innovative building forms and materials
•    Inclusion of meticulous and inventive detailing
•    Striving for special and unique design solutions to the positioning aimed at and the success achieved

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort was recognized as the top Native America Casino Facility for both for its design and engineering.

“We are enormously honored to be recognized with this prestigious award and gratefully thank the Navajo Nation, who hired us for the project,” said Friedmutter Group founder and CEO Brad Friedmutter. “The success of this project is a direct reflection of the great teamwork and cooperation of the entire team starting with the leadership of Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. We worked very closely with the owners and SICON, the owner’s representative, to translate their vision into an overall design that celebrates their rich Navajo Culture throughout the property and are so proud to be part of this winning team.”

Jim Gist, chief sales and marketing officer for JBA Consulting Engineers added, “While we have worked on projects across the globe, this team and the opportunity to create something truly unique in the Native America Gaming space was an honor for our entire firm.”

Culturally Infused Building and Design

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort’s five-story hotel with 90 rooms, 16,000 square foot conference center, heated-indoor swimming pool, fitness center and casino floor with rotunda, food court, steakhouse, seafood bar, sports bar, 24-hour café, gift shop and coffee shop were completed in May 2013. 400 Navajo construction workers were employed on the project that began September 2011.

The main drive and porte corchere are expressed architecturally as the upward movement of ancestors through the Four Worlds.
A water feature at the entrance symbolizes the rising waters that motivated the people to move up and seek new worlds to live in.
The hotel tower features a dimensional over-scaled weave pattern, suggesting the work of hands and hearts; the weaving of baskets, textiles, and song.
The texture and lines sweeping over the façade of the lower casino buildings relates to the winds sweeping across the Nation bringing life to the Dine.
A cascading glass entry to the south of the casino façade recalls the Grand Falls of the Little Colorado River.

At the main entrance of the casino guests enter through a black textured stone vestibule, a contemporary abstraction of the First World.
The entrance also contains stone soffits that depict the 1st World of the Insect people, the 2nd World of Bluebirds and Swallow people, the 3rd World of the Grasshoppers, and the 4th World where Man and Woman came to be.
A custom chandelier in the rotunda depicts the vertical rise of the people through each world. Hand blown glass rings represent the colors of each world. Droplets of crystal cascade through the rings like water two chrome tubes in the center of the rings symbolize the reeds that were used to enter through the hard sky of the world.
The rotunda floor mirrors the chandelier in an infinity circle reflection.

The casino’s theme is “The Glittering World”.
Its ceiling depicts a Navajo night sky and the Milky Way with custom decorative chandeliers.
At the center of the casino an area is surrounded by a custom silver and bronze metal chain drapery. The metal drapery creates an oval with grass and reed designs.
Crystal lanterns surround the outer layers, and inside a reflective chandelier with independent rays of light form a central ceiling feature.
Additional detail throughout the casino recalls the glittering Dook’ o’osliid, the western mountain that “light shines from within”.

Other Interiors:
Custom commissioned artwork is featured throughout the resort, casino and conference center.
Each restaurant has a different theme celebrating Navajo traditions.
Resort rooms and suites (available in three different configurations) feature a contemporary décor. Select rooms have panoramic mountain views, but each has superior linens, over-sized 100 percent Egyptian cotton towels and the iBahn entertainment system, which features the latest technology in room entertainment (a personalized multimedia HD TV experience).
The resort is further embellished with the sacred colors of the Navajo Nation and the unique basket weave design.


Navajo Nation focuses on first casino in Arizona

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise’s first casino in Arizona, is expected to be a major economic engine for the Flagstaff area.

“Twin Arrows will create a new benchmark in gaming entertainment while improving the economic health and prosperity of the Navajo Nation,” said Derrick Watchman, chief executive officer of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. “As northern Arizona’s premier destination casino resort, Twin Arrows will create approximately 800 full-time jobs with an annual payroll of $34 million, including salaries and benefits.”

Az Business caught up with Watchmen before the 267,000-square-foot facility opened over Memorial Day weekend to get his thoughts about Northern Arizona’s hottest new spot.

Az Business: What has been your biggest challenge opening the casino?
Derrick Watchman: This project has been going on for five years, from ideas and concepts to financing and securing land, but there really hasn’t been any one big obstacle. We’re shorthanded on employees. Each employee has to be licensed. With three other casinos, there is a lot of turnover, as there is with all restaurants and in retail. We had challenges securing money. I was hired to secure financing, but about that time (2008 and 2009), the market crashed. But, we convinced the tribe that we were a really good investment. Other challenges? We hit rock-bottom — literally. At groundbreaking. It was limestone. There are only a few big rock [demolishing companies] in the country so we had to secure them. The rock you see around here, around the lobby and hotel, is part of the land.

AB: How does Twin Arrows reflect the Navajo Nation?
DW: When we started development, we identified a cultural committee. They worked with the architects and decided how to incorporate Navajo elements. The chandelier in the rotunda is actually representational of the four levels of worlds we believe in. Each hotel depicts the four worlds of the Navajo. We commissioned 33 different, very well-known Navajo artists. They put in their vision. You’ll see depictions of Navajo beliefs, creatures, animals, plant life and different directions. Our nation is known for mutton stew and fry bread, too, which is served in the casino food court.

AB: What can visitors expect?
DW: Our goal is to be a four-diamond resort. The amenities in the rooms are all geared to four-star ratings. When someone comes to Twin Arrows, we want them to say, “Wow.” We want to be a great food venue. We have the latest and greatest slot machines. Our poker room has 12 tables. We plan on having tournaments. We want folks to stay here, have meetings here, and have fun. I’ve heard the term “oasis in the desert.” We want to be that.

AB: Why did you pick that particular location for its first Arizona casino?
DW: We’re next to Flagstaff and the Indian Reservation – right where it stops. We’re also on Route 66, a historic route, and on the way out or into Flagstaff and Winslow. It’s an ideal location.

casino indian gaming

Indian tribe will appeal Glendale casino ruling

An Indian tribe in Arizona has told a judge it intends to appeal his decision that concluded another Indian tribe’s plan to build a casino on the edge of Glendale was legal.

The Gila River Indian Community is appealing U.S. District Judge David Campbell’s May 7 ruling in which he said the Tohono O’odham Nation’s plan to build the casino was legal because the state’s voter-approved gambling compacts didn’t contain language prohibiting new casino construction.

The state of Arizona, Gila River Indian Community, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community sued the Tohono O’odham Nation to stop the casino.

They said it violates zoning and state laws and would disrupt residential neighborhoods.

The Tohono O’odham Nation unveiled its plans for the massive resort and casino in 2009.


Navajo officials may expand casino alcohol use

Navajo gaming officials want to make it possible for people at the tribe’s Arizona casino to drink alcohol while they’re gambling.

Tribal law permits alcohol sales and consumption only in casino restaurants.

A bill moving through the Navajo Nation Council would allow drinks to be taken onto the casino floor.

Derrick Watchman is the chief executive of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. He says expanding areas where alcohol can be consumed would make the Twin Arrows casino near Flagstaff more competitive with other Arizona casinos.

The expansion wouldn’t carry over to the Navajo Nation’s casinos in New Mexico.

Alcohol is a touchy subject on the Navajo Nation, where the sale and consumption largely is banned.

Watchman expects the discussion over the bill to include the pervasive social ills of alcoholism.


Navajo Nation looks to fill jobs at Flagstaff casino

The Navajo Nation is looking to fill 800 jobs at its newest casino opening this year near Flagstaff.

A job fair is being held Friday through Sunday in Flagstaff to fill accounting, human resources, marketing, hotel administration, food and beverage, training and other positions. Drug screening and background checks are being done on site, and candidates could be offered a job on the spot.

Navajos will be given preference for employment.

The $150 million Twin Arrows casino along Interstate 40 will have a hotel, conference center, spa and golf course. It is scheduled to open in mid-May.

The Navajo Nation operates three casinos in New Mexico. The Twin Arrows casino will be the first on the Arizona portion of the reservation.


Tribe Scores Legals Win In Bid To Build Casino In Glendale

An Arizona tribe with plans to build a casino and resort on property it purchased near Glendale scored a key victory Tuesday when a federal appeals court ruled that the U.S. Department of Interior rightfully awarded reservation status to a section of the land.

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued a split decision rejecting arguments by the city of Glendale that the property is ineligible for such status because it falls within its corporate limits. The property is an unincorporated island of Maricopa County and bordered on three sides by Glendale.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris Jr. characterized the lawsuit that challenged the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision to award reservation status in 2010 as another delaying tactic.

“Just as courts and federal agencies have done eight straight times before, the 9th Circuit weighed the arguments and then ruled in the nation’s favor,” he said in a statement. “The court reaffirmed today that when the federal government makes a commitment to Native peoples, it will stand by those commitments.”

At issue was whether federal law permitted the tribe to convert the property it quietly purchased in 2003 into an Indian reservation, which would strip authority from state and local officials who argued the casino project clashes with zoning and state laws.

Federal law generally bars gambling on reservations created after 1988, but there are a few exceptions.

The tribe purchased the property with congressionally allocated money it was given after a federal government dam caused extensive flooding of its original reservation.

Glendale, the state of Arizona and another tribe had sued to overturn the DOI decision. A spokeswoman for the city and for the state Attorney General’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

About 30,000 people live within two miles of where the casino is to be erected.

The tribe still faces other legal and regulatory challenges in building a casino. Opponents, including other tribes, contend the Tohono O’odham Nation went “reservation shopping” with the government’s money and shouldn’t be allowed to turn just any piece of property it purchases into a reservation and then a casino the size of the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

casino indian gaming

Appeals Court Hears Tribe’s Glendale Casino Project

A federal appeals court on Monday has taken up an Arizona Indian tribe’s complicated legal fight to build a massive casino and resort near a Glendale neighborhood, on property the tribe owns 160 miles from the headquarters of its sprawling reservation.

The three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco gave no hint of how or when it would rule after sharply questioning lawyers on both sides for nearly an hour.

At issue is whether federal law permits the Tohono O’odham Nation to convert property it quietly purchased in 2003 into an Indian reservation, which would strip authority from state and local officials who argue the casino project clashes with zoning and state laws.

A high school is located a few blocks from where the casino is to be erected, which is about a mile from a retail and entertainment district where Phoenix’s professional football and hockey teams play their home games. About 30,000 people live within two miles.

The suburban property is in an unincorporated island of Maricopa County and bordered on three sides by the city of Glendale, which is adjacent to Phoenix.

Local and state officials argue that the proposed 150,000-square-foot casino will require them to beef up fire, police and other civic requirements in an area not equipped to accommodate a Las Vegas-style resort.

The tribe says it bought the property with congressionally allocated money it was given after a federal government dam caused extensive flooding of the original reservation.

The Department of the Interior declared the Glendale property a reservation in 2010.

The tribe had received $30 million to replace nearly 10,000 acres of ancestral reservation land damaged by the dam. The tribe says the 135 acres purchased within the city limits of Glendale in 2003 is part of that replacement program, and the project is located about 60 miles from the damaged land.

Glendale, the state of Arizona and another tribe filed a lawsuit to overturn the Department of the Interior decision. Several other tribes submitted so-called friend-of-the-court briefs opposing the casino. A judge last year sided with the Tohono O’odham Nation, which is represented by former U.S. Solicitor General Seth Waxman.

“This is an acre-for-acre replacement that was an Indian reservation even before Arizona was a state,” Waxman argued to the three-judge panel Monday. He said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar correctly deemed the land a reservation.

Lawyers for Glendale and tribes opposing the project argued that the Tohono O’odham Nation went “reservation shopping” with the government’s money and shouldn’t be allowed to turn just any piece of property it purchases into a reservation and then a sprawling casino the size of the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Arizona Solicitor General Dave Cole said allowing the tribe to build a casino within Glendale but denying city, county and state officials any authority over the project makes the concept of local control “nothing more than an illusion.”

Federal law generally bars gambling on reservations created after 1988, but there are a few exceptions.

For more information on the Tohono O’odham Nation and this issue, visit www.tonation-nsn.gov.