Gila River begins construction on Santan Mountain Casino.

Gila River Breaks Ground on Santan Mountain Casino

Construction on the newest casino in the Valley began in earnest on Monday, set against the scenic Santan Mountains.

Gila River Hotels & Casinos is set to debut its newest establishment, Santan Mountain Casino, located south of Chandler. This will mark the fourth casino under the ownership and operation of Gila River, joining the ranks of Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte, and Vee Quiva.

The company’s press release stated that the new casino will be located at the southeast corner of Gilbert Road and Hunt Highway, with an anticipated opening in the next 18 to 24 months.

In a press release, Governor Stephen Roe Lewis of the Gila River Indian Community expressed his confidence in the casino project’s ability to bring positive change to the region. He highlighted that the project will provide job opportunities for more than 650 individuals.

The Community received permission to build a new casino due to updated gaming agreements with the state, which also legalized online sports betting in Arizona.

In the statement, Lewis emphasized that Santan Mountain will not just increase revenue, improve sustainability, and offer crucial services to our community, but also elevate our standing in the gaming and hospitality industry as we work towards establishing a premier entertainment empire.

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Phoenix Gaming enters a new era

Upon its completion, the upcoming Gila River casino will feature a BetMGM sportsbook, made possible by a partnership between the Gila River Indian Community, the company, and the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL. The agreement was finalized in August.

The statement announced that eventually, all four of Gila River’s casinos will offer sportsbooks. The Santan Mountain casino will feature a specially designated area on the casino floor with ample seating, big-screen TVs, and various amenities.

The 160-acre complex will feature a plethora of entertainment options, including 850 slot machines, table games, the BetMGM sportsbook, and various dining venues. The total cost of the project is projected to exceed $150 million.

The groundbreaking on Monday marks the beginning of a new era in gaming on tribal land for Gila River Expansion Owner’s Team Chairman and Councilman Anthony Villareal Sr.

Villareal eagerly anticipates the finish of the Santan Mountain project and is excited to witness the positive impact it will have on the community.

Villareal proudly observed the historic moment, crediting the board, partners, and team members for their hard work. He looks forward to the exciting milestones ahead at Santan Mountain that will positively impact the community.



Peterson Christopher

Peterson Christopher has spent over seven years reporting on sports and sports betting in Arizona for, the Tucson Weekly, and the Green Valley News. He has now taken on the role of lead writer at

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