Gila River Tribe Set To Open New $180 Million Arizona Casino

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on May 18, 2023

The newest Arizona casino now has an opening date. Gila River Resort & Casino Santan Mountain will open on June 30.

The $180 million casino is the first new casino following the updated tribal gaming compact with the state that opened the doors for Arizona sports betting. 

Gila is one of 16 state tribes that operate gaming in Arizona in some form. The updated state-tribal compact allows for new Las Vegas-style games, including craps, roulette, and retail and online sports betting. 

Gila River Resort & Casino Santan Mountain artist rendering

Arizona’s newest attraction, Casino Santan Mountain

The Santan Mountain casino will feature the largest retail AZ sportsbook in the state, 813 slot machines, table games and a new full-service restaurant. The BetMGM Sportsbook will encompass 7,000 square feet and feature a deli counter called Upper Deck Deli. 

Additional amenities include:

  • High-limit gaming salon
  • Mini-baccarat, craps and roulette
  • Multiple dining options
  • Indoor/outdoor space
  • Event lawn and ballroom
  • A main bar, The Hive, will have 20 beers on tap

The casino’s state-of-the-art design is a nod to the culture of the Gila River Indian Community.

Blake Katsnelson, general manager for the casino, said the casino offers more than just gambling but rather an entertainment experience. “Traditional gaming is not the way,” he said in an article by AZCentral. “It’s the extra amenities that we offer.”

Instant impact for the Gila River Tribe

In January, Gila River Tribe Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis spoke enthusiastically about adding a fourth property and its meaning for the tribe. According to an article by KTAR News, Lewis said:

“Not only will Santan Mountain bring additional revenue, sustainability, and critical services to our Community members, it will elevate our prestige in the gaming and hospitality industry as we continue to craft an entertainment dynasty.”

Although the casino does not feature a hotel, one could be built in the future. 

The casino is holding a job fair to hire roughly 700 new employees

The Gila River Casino Santan Mountain may be the first new casino with the updated gaming compact, but others are on the horizon. Near Glendale, Desert Diamond Casinos has begun constructing a new casino near Loop 303 and Northern Avenue.

Photo by Playin USA
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for Playin USA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key fo
cus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

View all posts by Nicholaus Garcia