Former Tohono O’odham Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. “this day was a long time in coming.”
Opening of the interim facility which opened Dec. 20, 2015. To get to the groundbreaking day it took patience, persistence and perseverance by the tribe and its members. “We have come a long way,” former Tohono O’odham Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. There were many to thank to get to this momentous day and let bygones be bygones and start a new chapter in economic development and self-reliance of the nation. The new casino is bound to be a huge economic impact on the West Valley and the state.
More than eight years after the project was first announced, the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise (TOGE) broke ground Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, on the permanent, full-scale home for its Desert Diamond West Valley Casino. The new facility will feature a 75,000 square-foot casino floor with Class III slot machines, poker and blackjack tables, and live bingo, as well as five restaurants. Construction of the $400 million project will last an estimated 24 months.
Construction of the project, headed by the Hunt/Penta Joint Venture as general contractor and will create over 1,500 construction jobs. Once complete, the full-scale casino will employ approximately 1,600 people. The facility is located on 54 acres of reservation land near the cities of Glendale and Peoria, Arizona. The full-scale casino will complement the region’s vibrant sports and entertainment attractions, including Glendale’s Westgate Entertainment District and Peoria’s P83 Entertainment District.
The Tohono O’odham Nation first announced the major casino project Jan. 29, 2009. The casino project faced significant challenges from special interests in court and in multiple attempts to move federal legislation to halt the project. These challenges failed, and an interim casino opened to huge crowds Dec. 20, 2015. It currently employs nearly 600 people. The interim casino will continue operating during construction and then transition to use as a warehouse after the full-scale casino opens.
Edward Manuel, Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation said, “This facility will provide jobs and economic opportunity for members of the Tohono O’odham Nation, the West Valley and Arizona. The Nation is proud of the partnerships we have forged in the region, which will only strengthen and grow as we move forward.”
Andy Asselin, CEO of the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise said “This is a day our guests and employees have been looking forward to for a long time. We have put together a terrific construction team that will be developing a unique attraction for the entire West Valley. We’re eager to get started.”
TOGE is also planning future phases of construction once the permanent casino is complete, including a hotel, spa and other resort amenities. Once fully built out, the resort and casino will occupy over one-million square-feet and create more than 3,000 jobs.
Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment, with three locations in Southern Arizona (Tucson, Sahuarita and Why) and one in the West Valley, is owned and operated by the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise, an enterprise of the Tohono O’odham Nation.