Tag Archives: casino del sol


Casino Del Sol Resort announces new CEO

Casino Del Sol Resort, an enterprise of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, announced the promotion of Kimberly Van Amburg to chief executive officer. Van Amburg has played an integral role in much of the casino resort’s success over the past seven years, previously serving as senior vice president and general counsel.

As CEO, Van Amburg oversees the strategic direction and operation of Casino Del Sol Resort and Casino of the Sun, working closely with the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Council to realize its vision of a vibrant and prosperous future for its members.

“For many years, Kimberly has been instrumental in the growth of our enterprises. Under her leadership, we foresee continued success and increased visibility of our properties,” said Pascua Yaqui Chairman Peter Yucupicio.

In her role as CEO, Van Amburg recently appointed two new executive-level positions. Paul Feltman, former executive director of finance, has been named chief financial officer and Steve Neely has returned to serve as chief marketing officer of the casino resort, having previously held this position from 2009 to 2012.

“Bringing more than 30 years of combined gaming and hospitality experience to their respective roles, Paul and Steve contribute extensive industry knowledge to our team,” said Van Amburg. “It is an honor to be entrusted by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe to lead this group of talented individuals.”

In addition to her role as CEO, Van Amburg volunteers in the community, serving on the board of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

For more information on Casino Del Sol Resort and its award-winning amenities, visit www.CasinoDelSolResort.com.

Meet Market: More business leaders seeking atypical event solutions

Competitors always seek an edge over an opponent.

That’s especially true in business where corporate meetings and team-building events are taking competition to a whole new level.

“We will do more than 1,000 corporate events this year,” says Scott Sanders, founder and president of Octane Raceway, which offers high-speed kart racing on an indoor-outdoor track in Scottsdale.

Octane is part of a growing trend that has seen a growing number of companies move away from staging their corporate events at the nearest airport hotel meeting room and evolving their events into more unique, fun and fresh environments.

“Companies are looking for different ways to engage their employees,” Sanders says. “One of the things we pride ourselves on is creating a memorable event. It’s not like people leave and say, ‘We went to a meeting and accomplished our business objective.’ When they come to Octane, they get to go off site, experience something together and get their competitive juices flowing. Companies are starting to recognize that team building not just as a line item on their budget, but something that has a true return on investment when it comes to having productive teams and having employees who feel appreciated.”

Octane Raceway isn’t the only place in the Valley where business leaders can effectively mix business with pleasure and team building. Here are just a few options:

casino-del-solCasino del Sol
In addition to its 18,000-square-foot ballroom that divides into five smaller rooms to allow meeting planners to hold multiple events side-by-side throughout their stay, Casino Del Sol Resort offers its corporate visitors world-class gaming, a Ty Butler- and Notah Begay-designed golf course, scenic hiking trails, mountain bike trails and horseback riding. casinodelsolresort.com

tontoClubhouse at Tonto Verde
The Clubhouse at Tonto Verde offers companies a unique way to recharge after a half-day or full day executive meeting on its 18-hole natural grass putting course, offering a fun alternative event for golfers and non-golfers alike. The Clubhouse at Tonto Verde has customized programs to meet your business needs that include a variety of food and beverage packages. tontoverdeweddings.com

dave-and-bustersDave and Busters
With all the amenities of a hotel plus customized team building options, D&B guests attend an experience, not just a meeting. By-products of a D&B event result in building team cohesion, melting strong personality types and re-energizing your strongest asset – your employees. Now that’s a way to justify your meeting dollars. daveandbusters.com

hardrockHard Rock Cafe Phoenix
The Hard Rock is the perfect venue for parties and special events, large and small. Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, Hard Rock can host a variety of events, from corporate meetings to elegant galas, each with a custom design to fit clients’ specific needs. The venue provides guests with a legendary culinary experience, along with a one-of-a-kind memorabilia collection, giving each event its own built-in vibe. hardrock.com

Hot-AirHot Air Expeditions
Hot air balloon flights and tethered rides are fun and unique activities for meetings and events. Tethered rides are a great addition to an event and balloon flights are perfect for bonding outside of the office and showcasing the beautiful Sonoran Desert. Post-flight gourmet cuisine and optional teambuilding events and activities are available. hotairexpeditions.com

Mastro’s private dining space offers corporate clients an exclusive, fine dining experience in a business-minded atmosphere complete with audio-visual capabilities and high-level service. Options include Mastro’s Steak House, Mastro’s Ocean Club and Mastro’s City Hall. mastrosrestaurants.com

mimMusical Instrument Museum
MIM offers a stunning and unique setting for events, with world-class service, sumptuous cuisine, magical entertainment, and incomparable musical and cultural exhibits. Displaying more than 5,000 musical instruments and artifacts from around the world, MIM provides a one-of-a-kind event experience for seated dinners, cocktail receptions, corporate meetings, weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, fundraising galas and other special events. mim.org

octaneOctane Raceway
Companies can do a couple races per person with a catered breakfast, lunch or dinner. Off-track activities that can supplement the experience include a rock wall, Phoenix International Raceway Pit Crew Challenge, Segway course and other games. Expect to pay just $30-$60 per person or go all out and do the Octane Olympics for $100 per person. octaneraceway.com

rawhideRawhide Western Town and Steakhouse
at Wild Horse Pass

Rawhide offers companies an opportunity to enjoy a unique memorable experience with a true taste of the Old West. Rawhide can accommodate groups from 20 to 7,500 and has more than 14 different private Western-themed venues so corporate groups can enjoy a unique journey back in time. rawhide.com

stratumStratum Laser Tag & Event Headquarters
Stratum specializes in “meetings with a mission;” out-of-the-box programs with an out-of-the-ordinary and affordable setting. Teams will incorporate their meeting message, team-building effectiveness, entertainment, camaraderie and fun along with upscale food and bar packages, all at a lower cost than a hotel and within a unique setting. stratumhq.com

tpcTPC Scottsdale
TPC offers word-class golf accommodations for all corporate groups. Besides golf, TPC offers post0event function spaces, private meeting spaces and banquet areas that allow for corporate groups to enjoy a round of golf while including business activities. This can include a power point presentation before teeing off or a large post-event function area to entertain clients before or after their round. pgatourtpc.com

wild-horse-passWild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino
With 12,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, Wild Horse Pass offers a great option for memorable meetings, epic events and special celebrations. Its showroom features amazing production possibilities for a general session for up to 1,400 people or a meal for up to 300. The venue also boasts five unique spaces from swanky lounges – including the popular AiRIA Unplugged — to a sports bar. wingilariver.com

Wrigley-MansionWrigley Mansion
The Wrigley Mansion is a breathtaking landmark built in 1932 by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. as a 50th anniversary gift to his wife. Now celebrating its 20th year under the Hormel family’s ownership, the Wrigley Mansion offer a historical venue that specializes in meetings, conferences and every milestone celebration from a sit-down event for 20 to 300 to a reception-style event for up to 1,500. wrigleymansionclub.com


Off Madison Ave Acquires Gordon Galloway

Phoenix-based marketing communications firm Off Madison Ave announced today its acquisition of Gordon Galloway, an integrated agency specializing in the casino gaming and entertainment industries.

This is Off Madison Ave’s second acquisition in recent years – the firm acquired digital powerhouse Mighty Interactive in 2005 – and comes on the heels of a strategic merger with interactive and creative shop SpinSix late last year.

“We are continually seeking out acquisition targets as part of an aggressive growth strategy,” said David Anderson, CEO of Off Madison Ave. “The Gordon Galloway purchase complements our travel and tourism practice, and provides an opportunity for future expansion beyond the Arizona market.”

Founded in 2010, Gordon Galloway works with several premier entertainment, gaming and resort enterprises, including Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Ariz., and the Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Mich. Other notable clients include The Grand Belize Entertainment Group, Capital Processing Network and Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock.

“Joining the ranks of Off Madison Ave affords our clients a full suite of integrated marketing capabilities under one roof,” said Ben Gordon. “With a shared philosophy of great creative driving measurable results, we are eager to become part of the team and produce outstanding work.”

Post acquisition, Off Madison Ave’s total capitalized billings are expected to top $50 million annually.

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

Top 5: Arizona Casinos (Fall-Winter 2012)

The Top 5 Arizona Casinos — as voted on by Experience AZ readers:

Fort McDowell Casino

10424 Ft. McDowell Rd.,
Fort McDowell, AZ 85264
800-THE-FORT (843-3678)
Fort McDowell Casino offers some of the finest, most exciting gaming in the Southwest. Slots, keno, bingo, poker, black jack, and lunar bingo, which takes the traditional game to thrilling new heights.

Casino Arizona At Salt River

524 N. 92nd St.,
Scottsdale, AZ 85256
(480) 850-7777
Offers more than 100,000 square feet devoted to gaming and entertainment. Amenities include 52 table games, 1,026 slot machines, keno, a high-limit lounge and a world-class showroom. Guests seeking food and refreshments can enjoy one of the facility’s five lounges and four restaurants of flavorful virtue.

Casino Del Sol

5655 W. Valencia Rd.,
Tucson, AZ 85757
(800) 344-9435
Mediterranean architecture surrounds the gaming space, featuring 1,000 nickel, quarter, $1, $5 and multi-denominational slot machines. The $100 million resort, with luxury rooms and suites, two new restaurants, a spa and 20,000 square feet of meeting space.

Cliff Castle Casino

1555 W. Middle Verde Rd.,
Camp Verde, AZ 86322
(928) 567-7900
You’ll find slot machines, poker, blackjack and other gaming options. Lodging and dining are also offered. Everything at Cliff Castle Casino is catered for comfort, from its spacious aisles to its extra-padded seats. The casino also includes a gourmet steakhouse, a gift shop and a 20-lane bowling center.

Lone Butte Casino

1200 S. 56th St.,
Chandler, AZ 85226
(800) WIN-GILA (946-4452)
Minutes from the Chandler/Ahwatukee area, Lone Butte is the destination for the slot lover. Lone Butte has 850 of the newest slots, with classic reels and video slots, as well as video keno and video poker. Lone Butte also has live blackjack, with limits from $5 to $1,000, plus a state-of-the-art bingo hall. There are also six restaurants to choose from.

Experience AZ Fall-Winter 2012


Top 5 Arizona Casinos (Spring-Summer 2012)

Top 10: Arizona Casinos (Spring-Summer 2012)

The Top 10 Arizona Casinos — as voted on by Experience AZ readers:

Apache Gold Casino

Hwy. 70, 5 miles East of Globe, San Carlos, AZ 85550
Offers blackjack, poker, keno, bingo and more than 600 slot machines. Also on site is a 146-room hotel, an 18-hole championship golf course, convention center, nearby fishing and sightseeing.

Bucky’s Casino / Prescott Resort

1500 E. Hwy. 69,
Prescott, AZ 86301
More than 350 multi-denominational slot machines, live blackjack and poker — featuring Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha. Bucky’s adjoins the Prescott Resort for luxurious accommodations. The resort features suites with private balconies, a salon, spa, pool and conference center.

Cliff Castle Casino

555 W. Middle Verde Rd.,
Camp Verde, AZ 86322
You’ll find slot machines, poker, blackjack and other gaming options. Lodging and dining are also offered. Everything at Cliff Castle Casino is catered for comfort, from its spacious aisles to its extra-padded seats. The casino also includes a gourmet steakhouse, a gift shop and a 20-lane bowling center.

Vee Quiva Casino

6443 N. Komatke Lane,
Laveen, AZ 85339
800-WIN-GILA (946-4452)
Try your hand at one of 675 slot machines or the 500-seat bingo arena. There are eight tables for blackjack, with bets from $5 to $1,000. Free valet. New additions to Vee Quiva include more parking, a remodeled poker room, updated bingo hall, expanded gaming floor and the Players Bar.

Harrah’s Phoenix Ak-Chin Casino Resort

15406 N. Maricopa Rd.,
Maricopa, AZ 85239
Play. Eat. Drink. Sleep. Repeat. When it comes to gaming, there are slots, keno, blackjack and the friendliest poker room in Arizona. The 40,000-square-foot casino is open 24 hours a day.

A Quick Trip from Phoenix:

Bluewater Resort & Casino

11300 Resort Dr., Parker, AZ 85344
Situated along the Colorado River in Western Arizona, the casino offers wide-scale gaming such as bingo, poker, blackjack and 475 slot machines. Rooms, restaurants and entertainment are also a part of the complex. Other amenities include an indoor water park with a three-story slide, two swimming pools and spa, video arcade, 18-hole miniature golf and on-site theater.

Casino Del Sol

5655 W. Valencia Rd.,
Tucson, AZ 85757
Mediterranean architecture surrounds the gaming space, featuring 1,000 nickel, quarter, $1, $5 and multi-denominational slot machines. The $100 million resort, with luxury rooms and suites, two new restaurants, a spa and 20,000 square feet of meeting space, opened on Nov. 11, 2011.

Cocopah Casino

15136 S. Avenue B,
Somerton, AZ 85350
Highway 95 (Ave. B) approximately 5 miles south of Yuma
Options include more than 475 slot machines, blackjack, and Bingo. Three on-site restaurants.

Mazatzal Hotel & Casino

Hwy. 87, Milepost 251,
Payson, AZ 85547
800-777-PLAY (7529)
The 75,000-square-foot casino is located on Tonto Apache Tribal land with views of the Mazatzal Mountains and the Mogollon Rim. Mazatzal Casino is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Bingo, slots, poker, blackjack, keno, gift shop, arcade and all-suites hotel including pool, spa and fitness room are offered. Visitors should try the Cedar Ridge Restaurant or the Grille.

Spirit Mountain Casino

8555 S. Highway 95,
Mohave Valley, AZ
Open 24 hours daily with more than 250 gaming machines. Casino also has a driving range, minature golf, an RV resort located next to the casino, and RV parking for 82 rigs.

Experience AZ Spring-Summer 2012

Hospitality And Casino Construction Increase On Tribal Lands - Gila River Indian Community

Hospitality And Casino Construction Increase On Tribal Lands

The Gila River Indian Community is building two new hotels that total more than 200 rooms, a new, 70,000 SF casino, and a conference center. The Navajo Nation is building its first Arizona casino near Flagstaff.

“(Construction in Indian country) is actually one of the market sectors that is really thriving,” says Rogers Owers, an attorney with Andante Law Firm, whose speciality is construction laws in Indian country. “Whether it’s design, construction, or brokering the real estate deals, cash flows into the industry as a whole.”

In Tucson, a new 44,500 SF convention center and a 1,120-car parking structure opened at Casino del Sol in November. Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino increased its guest capacity to 300 rentable rooms, and renovated its restaurant in July.

As several Arizona tribes reveal major hospitality and casino construction projects, one thing is a sure bet — 2012 is shaping up to be another jackpot year.

The Arizona Department of Gaming reports that trial casino revenues steadily declined from 2008 to 2010, but returned to the green in 2011. During this period, hospitality and casino construction in Indian country slowed.

Talking Stick Resort, which opened its doors on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in 2010, was the last significant Native American casino and hospitality project in almost a year.

Today, several sizable construction projects in Indian country are underway or open for business. The largest, a multifaceted undertaking by the Gila River Indian Community, includes a new 90-room hotel and the demolition and remodel of Vee Quiva Casino in West Phoenix, plus a new conference center, 130-room hotel and restaurant at Lone Butte Casino in Chandler.

The Gila River Indian Community, going all in, also is reportedly opening a new hotel at Toka Sticks Golf Course in Mesa, which is a short distance from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

The construction venture at Vee Quiva is still in its developmental stages, according to Melody Hudson, public relations manager for Gila River Casinos. It is expected to open in the summer of 2013 at a cost of $135M.

“Rebuilding Vee Quiva Casino is part of a strategic plan the Gila River Indian Community has set in place to refresh our casinos while ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Community and creating new job opportunities in Arizona,” says Anthony Villareal Sr., Casino Expansion Owners Team chairman.

After its reconstruction, Vee Quiva Casino will total nearly 175,000 SF — almost double its original size.

Further north, the Navajo Nation broke ground last March on Twin Arrows Casino outside of Flagstaff, its first casino in Arizona.

The 320,000 SF, $150M casino, scheduled to open in July, will include a hotel and conference center. General contractor is Hunt Construction and the architect is Friedmutter Group.

Some casinos, on the other hand, already have their cards on the table. Casino Del Sol and Harrah’s Ak-Chin opened their newly renovated facilities in 2011.

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe renovated and expanded Casino Del Sol’s hotel and convention center in Tucson to the tune of $75M. The additions included 215 new rooms, a conference center, a parking structure and a spa. It is the second phase of the tribe’s ongoing hospitality and casino refurbishment project. McCarthy Building Companies served as GC and LEO A DALY was the architect.

McCarthy project manager Kurt Nyberg says construction went smoothly because the tribe first commissioned his company in 2003.

“What helped with this expansion is that the Casino Del Sol had gained building experience when both firms worked on the original casino project,” Nyberg says, “so the process was not entirely new from the owner’s perspective.”

Another big player in Arizona, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino and Resort, finished its hotel and restaurant renovations in July after 11 months of construction. Lead designer Jason Ploszaj of RSP Architects says the construction was vital, because the “hotel was turning away guests nightly.”

The expansion, a $20M, 5-story hotel tower, doubled the number of rentable rooms at the Maricopa resort.

“In order to better serve guests, Harrah’s decided that after more than 10 years of success, and expansion of 152 new hotel rooms was necessary to refresh the hotel experience,” Ploszaj says.

For more information on casino and hospitality construction visit, ciic.construction.asu.edu


AZRE Magazine March/April 2012

RED Awards 2012 - Westin Phoenix Downtown

RED Awards 2012: Best Hospitality Project, Westin Phoenix Downtown

On March 1, AZRE hosted the 7th Annual RED Awards reception at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix to recognize the most notable commercial real estate projects of 2011 and the construction teams involved. AZRE held an open call for nominations and a record 116 projects were submitted by architects, contractors, developers and brokerage firms in Arizona. This year, the winner for Best Hospitality Project was Westin Phoenix Downtown.

Best Hospitality Project

Westin Phoenix Downtown

Developer: National Real Estate Advisors
Contractor: Perini Building Company
Architect: Gensler (interior design)/SmithGroupJJR
Size: 185,000 SF
Location: 333 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Completed: March, 2011

Westin Phoenix DowntownIt took collaborative effort from the team of architects, interior designers and contractor to adapt and renovate the Westin Phoenix Downtown in just a year and a half. Located inside the Freeport-McMoRan Center, the hotel occupies floors 11 through 18. Ordinary office space was transformed into the first 5-star property in Downtown Phoenix. Amenities include a 3,000 SF ballroom, pool and  deck, workout room and Province restaurant. Construction for the Westin consisted of adjusting and expanding the plumbing by drilling core holes and airlifting 750 gallons of hot water boilers to the roof.  During the renovations, employee safety and convenience was adhered to. Perini Building Company did not disrupt the routine of the workers already in the building. The team incorporated energy efficiency through LED lighting and the use of a key card to disable unused electricity once a guest leaves the room. The interior design, provided by Gensler, evokes a natural feel, despite the unexpected location for a boutique hotel.


Video by Cory Bergquist

Honorable Mention

Casino del Sol Hotel Convention Center and Parking Structure Expansion

Developer: Casino del Sol
Contractor: McCarthy Building Companies
Architect: Leo A Daly
Size: 250,000 SF
Location: 5655 W. Valencia Rd., Tucson
Completed: November, 2011

Video by Cory Bergquist

RED Awards 2012 Winners & Finalists

AZRE Magazine March/April 2012

P.Y. Steakhouse - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Casino Del Sol’s P.Y. Steakhouse Serves Up European-Meets-Southwest Cuisine

Mixing business and pleasure: Casino Del Sol’s P.Y. Steakhouse serves up European-meets-Southwest cuisine in a chic environment

Tucked within the newly expanded Casino Del Sol Resort in Tucson, P.Y. Steakhouse serves both a chic environment and exquisite cuisine for the guests of the well-known oasis of Southern Arizona.

The expanded Casino Del Sol boasts a Tuscan look with a rustic, yet modern design and décor. It relaxes and warms its guests with roaring fireplaces and glasses of bourbon, its lights dimmed just right. P.Y. Steakhouse provides a modern, chic escape, while maintaining that comfortable Tuscan feel.

This intimate setting’s main source of lighting came from the open kitchen located next to the dining room and separated by a four- or five-foot partition. Large porcelain chandeliers hover over the snow-white furniture, and the walls are lined with a wine bottle display. Specks of purples from the dining tables’ floral centerpieces give the restaurant that needed pop of color.

My patrons and I started off the night with glasses of red and white wine while engaging in business-laden conversation. Our waiter and waitress were patient, attentive and incredibly helpful.

Jumping from topics ranging from construction to architecture to dining favorites, the conversation quickly turned to how P.Y. Steakhouse had possibly made our respective favorite dining lists as soon as we had our first taste of the Southwest cuisine.

P.Y. Steakhouse - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012I began the night with the Sonoran Caesar Salad, tossed with simple, minimal ingredients, including grilled tomatoes, corn bread croutons and roasted garlic mustard chile dressing. This salad presented clean flavors that left me wanting more.

I — along with the rest of my dinner mates — continued to nibble on the warm, uniquely flavored biscuits with the Arizona mesquite honey butter thinly spread and melted atop. They quickly disappeared, and we would soon realize the side dishes would surprisingly “take the cake,” as one of my dinner patrons raved to our waitress.

After concluding the business half of our evening, it was now time to put the pad and paper away and enjoy the lively ambiance and environment. It was perfect timing when our dinner entrees were delivered at that exact moment.

My entree was the Free Range Red Bird Farms Chicken, perfectly peppered; the bird was served atop creamy Yukon gold potato bacon smash with mushrooms drenched in rich velouté. The moist chicken — local and sustainable — peeled off the bone cleanly and with very little effort, with just the right amount of fat.

Three of my dinner companions tried the meat entrees, each served with Truffled Chimichurri Sauce. First up, the 6-ounce CAB Filet Mignon with a roasted garlic demi-glace, described as perfect and juicy. The Grilled Buffalo Sirloin was chosen by the waiter and didn’t disappoint. Farm to table inspired, the sirloin was served with sweet potato hash and prickly pear guajillo demi.

Lastly was the Arizona pecan crusted Colorado Saddle Chop of Lamb, with a carrot puree, a purple fingerling potato and a peppercorn port sauce.

But as I said, the side dishes were the stars of the evening — dishes included the blue-cheesed-topped, rich-in-flavor gorgonzola mashed potatoes; the creamy parmesan English pea risotto; and the Yukon gold potato bacon smash with a hint of garlic.

P.Y. Steakhouse proved to be the perfect restaurant to mix business and pleasure. For your next trip to Tucson, consider dining at this European-meets-Southwest culinary treat, headed by chef Jason Jonilonis.

P.Y. Steakhouse

5655, West Valencia Rd
Tucson, AZ 85757
(855) 765-7829
FB: casinodelsol
Twitter: @CDSResort

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012