Gila River breaks ground on fourth casino in Arizona


ila River Hotels & Casinos broke ground on Monday on the upcoming “Santan Mountain” casino, the tribal operator’s fourth casino, which will be located in Chandler, Arizona.

Santan Mountain will join the operator’s other three Arizona casinos: Wild Horse Pass and Lone Butte, also located in near Chandler; and Vee Quiva in the West Valley. The new casino is projected to create an additional 650 new jobs and construction for the casino is expected to take 18 to 24 months.

The 160-acre, $150 million project near Gilbert Road and Hunt Highway will feature more than 850 slots and table games, a BetMGM Sportsbook and multiple dining options for guests. Some new games will include mini baccarat, craps, roulette and a High Limit Gaming Salon. The sportsbook will feature multiple TVs so guests can sit down, have a drink and bet on live sports. Officials say in the future, a hotel may be added as wellAZFamily reports.

The tribe announced the new casino project this summer after Arizona’s Native American tribes concluded a five-year negotiation and inked an amended tribal compact with the state. The agreement allowed casino expansions and tribes to operate thousands of new slot machines, open at least four new casinos and allow bets on new table games. 

“The comfort of Gila River’s guests is a top priority. Whether a guest is playing the slots during the day or playing at a high-energy, live table at night, Santan Mountain design elements will provide a striking, serene backdrop for memorable entertainment,” said Steelman Partners officials, the architectural and interior design company for the casino.

Paul Steelman, the architect behind the project, has designed casinos in Las Vegas and across the world, including Resorts World and Circa resorts. He said he was inspired by the Sonoran desert landscape of the 160-acre site, which led him to create a unique design. 

Gila River Hotels & Casinos CEO Kenneth Manuel praised Steelman Partners for their innovative design concepts. “We are thrilled with the architectural renderings and design components that Paul and Steve have presented to us – they are ensuring that Santan Mountain will be a premier gaming destination for years to come,” he said.

The tribe will also invest $143 million in an expansion project at Wild Horse Pass later this year, which will bring 205 new guest rooms, meeting space, two pools and a rooftop restaurant and lounge to the property.