Nation | Tribe: Tohono O'odham Nation
9431 W. Northern Ave
Glendale, AZ 85305
Desert Diamond West Valley Casino celebrated the grand opening of its new, $400M casino on Feb. 19, 2020. It is a 1.2M-square-foot facility with a 75,000-square-foot casino floor, 1,000 slot machines, 48 blackjack tables, 36 poker tables, bingo and five restaurants..
Artist rendering of new Desert Diamond West Valley Casino
The Desert Diamond West Valley Casino in Glendale opened a temporary casino on December 20, 2015. It operated until it was replaced by the permanent facility in Feb. 2020.
The West Valley Casino is located north of the Westgate Entertainment District, Gila River Arena and State Farm Stadium
The Tohono O'odham Nation had thousands of acres of their land in the San Lucy District ruined by continuous flooding caused by federal construction of the Painted Rock Dam. To compensate the Nation the U.S. Congress passed the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act (Public Law 99-503). The law authorizes the Nation to buy unincorporated lands in Pima, Pinal, or Maricopa counties as replacement reservation lands. It also directs the U.S. Interior Department to transfer the replacement land into federal trust.
In 2003 the Nation purchased 135 acres of unincorporated land near Glendale, Arizona, as replacement land for the purpose economic and community development. The Nation asked the Secretary of the Interior to take into trust allowing them to build a casino per the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Lawsuits challenged the qualifications of these 135 acres as replacement land. The tribe has won 19 lawsuits, and expects to win two more in 2016.
The grand opening of the first construction phase was celebrated December 20, 2015.
The second phase of construction will add an all-new, permanent casino. It will be over twice the size and offer table games and bingo in addition to slot machines. Five new restaurants will be added in this phase. Opening date is end of 2019.
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Open 24 hours daily
Must be 21 to enter bars and gaming area.
35,000 sq-ft gaming floor
1,089 slot machines
Bingo - 380 seats
American cuisine, coffee & pastries - open 24/7
Asian or Mexican cuisine - open 10am-1am daily
Breakfast 8am-11am with unlimited breakfast bar
Nineteen 86 Steakhouse
Open Sun-Thu 5pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm
Lounge Bar: 4pm-11pm daily
Nuovo Giorno Italian Bistro
Serving Italian specialties and pizza
Open Sun-Thu 5pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm
Located outside the Nuovo Giorno Italian Bistro.
Winners Sports Bar
Open 11am-1am daily
Full Menu 11am-10pm; Limited Menu 10pm-1am
Future 600-room spa hotel
The casino is the first phase of a master plan to build a 1.2 million square-foot casino resort with a spa hotel, a 3-acre atrium, event center, restaurants and bars, retail space, and a convention center. The property size is 78 acres of a total 135 acres. Construction of the remaining phases is estimated at 32 to 44 months and a cost is $607 million.
New Casino (Feb 2020)
$400M, 75,000-sq-ft, 2,225 slot machines, 48 blackjack tables, 36 poker tables, 1,000-seat bingo hall
Five Restaurants (Feb 2020)
Buffet - 400-seats, 21,250 sq-ft
Coffee Shop - 150 seats, 6,590 sq-ft
Bars & Lounges
Sports bar - 90 seats, 5,600 sq-ft
VIP Lounge - 2,100 sq-ft
Casino Feature Bar - 4,800 sq-ft
600 rooms including 480 guest rooms and 120 suites
40,000 sq-ft that doubles as convention/meeting space
Convention and Meeting Space
Valet parking 250 spaces
Surface parking 3,000 spaces
Parking structure 750 spaces
May 27, 2020
The Tohono O'odham Nation will reopen its four Desert Diamond Casinos on Friday June 5 at 1pm. Details are still pending at this time. The Desert Diamond Casinos shut down March 18, 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
A message posted on the Desert Diamond Casinos website simply says:
"DESERT DIAMOND CASINOS WILL REOPEN ON FRIDAY, JUNE 5 AT 1PM.
WE ARE EXCITED TO WELCOME YOU BACK!
MORE DETAILS TO COME ABOUT OUR SAFETY PRECAUTIONS."
Tucson hotel rooms are available to book for dates beginning. June 29.
For player details about each Desert Diamond Casino location, visit these pages:
February 23, 2020
The Tohono O'odham Nation celebrated the grand opening of its new Desert Diamond Casino West Valley in Glendale, Arizona. Tribal members and dignitaries attended a private event at 10:00 AM for leadership and management speeches followed by a cermonial ribbon cutting. The doors opened to the public at 8:00 PM.
This new West Valley casino replaces the temporary casino that had been operating since December 20, 2015 at 91st and Northern avenues. The temporary casino was permanently shut down a 8:00 PM the previous night.
New restaurants and bars debuted with the grand opening. These included the Nineteen 86 Steakhouse and Lounge Bar, Nuovo Giorno Italian Bistro, Edge Bar, Fortune Cafe and Winners Sports Bar. All opened for the first time at 8pm on the Grand Opening day. For hours and descriptions see the "Restaurant" section above.
February 15, 2020
The Tohono O'odham Nation will open its new $400 million, permanent West Valley casino next week on Feb. 19 replacing their temporary casino at 91st and Northern avenues.
The new Desert Diamond Casino West Valley is located north of the Westgate Entertainment District, Gila River Arena and State Farm Stadium.
$400 million cost
75,000 square feet building
Opening: 8:00 PM, Feb 19, 2020
1,000 slot machines
36 poker tables
48 blackjack tables
Treena Parvello, director of Government Relations and Communications for the Tohono O'odham Nation said:
"This has been a long time coming."
"We're excited to finally unveil the next phase for this unique amenity in the West Valley, which is creating jobs and opportunities. This would not have been possible without the leadership of the Tohono O'odham Nation, and the guidance of the Enterprise Management Board."
December 4, 2019
Desert Diamond Casino West Valley will soon announce interviews to hire 1,300 new employees prior to the grand opening of its newly expanded casino on Feb. 19, 2020.
The West Valley casino is currently operating in a temporary building that employs 700 people. The operation of the new facility will require a total of 2,000 employees.
The job openings will include hiring for the slots, table games, bingo gaming operations, as well as for food and beverage services. Additional job will be available in security, cashier cages and environmental services. New employees will receive competitive salaries, a comprehensive medical plan, a 401K plan, paid time off and other employment benefits.
November 25, 2019
Construction of the $400 million Desert Diamond West Valley Casino is in its final stage. When this 2.3 million-square-foot casino opens Feb. 19, 2020, it will be one of the largest casino in Arizona.
The new Desert Diamond West Valley Casino is under construction adjacent to the temporary casino, which is currently operating since 2015. It will replace the temporary casino on Feb 19, which will be closed at that time.
The new gaming area will be double the current size and include 1,136 additional slot machines (2,225 total), 48 blackjack tables and 36 poker tables.
Other new additions that have been announced are two new parking garages and new restaurants including an Italian restaurant, a steak-seafood restaurant, a sports bar and a 24/7 cafe.
A grand opening ceremony and celebration will be announced closer to the opening date.
August 13, 2019
Construction on a new, 75,000 square foot West Valley Casino is expected to finish by the end of the year. It will add new gaming in addition to slot machines. The new casino will offer poker, blackjack and other table games, and live bingo.
This $400 million casino will replace the existing one opened in 2015. Its location is adjacent to the old one. The new gaming floor is more than double the size with 75,000 square feet compared to the current 35,000 square feet
In addition to a new casino there will be five new restaurants and two new parking garages.
Another construction project to add a hotel and spa will begin in early 2020. An opening date has not been announced, however the goal is to opoen before the 2023 Super Bowl at State Farm Stadium
September 19, 2018
The Desert Diamond West Valley Casino recently held a topping off ceremony for the construction of the new gaming venue. The casino is owned by the Tohono O'odham Gaming Enterprise (TOGE). Placing the final steel beam into place is a major mile stone for the project as it nears the completion.
The project will cost $400 million to complete. 1,500 people have been contracted to work on the construction of the new casino. When the gaming venue opens 1,600 people will be employed to work there.
Located on 54 acres of tribal land it is close to Peoria and Glendale. The casino project will complement the other entertainment options and sporting events in the area.
The casino floor will be 75,000 square feet. There will be Class III gaming offered. This includes poker, blackjack, slot machines, and live bingo. The casino will also offer a total of five options for dining.
Plans were first announced in January 29, 2009 by the Tohono O'odham Nation. Legal battles and lawsuits were filed shortly after the project was announced. In December of 2015 the tribe was able to open the temporary casino building to the public. Construction began on the new casino building in December of last year. The interim gaming facility has continued to be in operation while the construction has continued on the new building. There are currently 600 people employed at the casino.
The end of next year is when the soft opening of the new Desert Diamond West Valley casino location is scheduled to open.
December 01, 2017
Ground was broken today for the new Desert Diamond West Valley casino. After eight years of planning and legal battles the construction for the new casino can move forward.
A temporary gaming facility was built in 2015. It operates under a Class II license. There are slot machines but no table games.
The new location will be built just to the north in the Westgate Entertainment District.
Poker, live bingo, blackjack, and slot machines will be offered at the new casino. The gaming floor will be 75,000 square feet. There will also be five restaurants.
Future plans will be the development of a hotel and spa.
The construction process will create 1,500 people. When finished, the gaming venue will employ 1,600 people.
The project is estimated to cost $400 million to complete. Construction is scheduled to be finished in two years.
July 24, 2017
Approval has been given by the US Department of the Interior for expansion plans to move forward on The Desert Diamond Casino West. Currently the casino is located in a temporary building and operates over 1,000 electronic bingo machines.
The casino located in Glendale, Arizona, is owned by the Tohono O'odham Nation. The tribe has faced many legal issues over the casino. The conflict was based over land that was purchased after 2002. That was the year that the tribe negotiated their first gaming compact. After many years of court battles, it was agreed that the Tohono O'odham could open a gaming venue, but not a Class III casino in the phoenix area for at least 15 years.
The terms of that agreement has been met per the DOI.
The approval will bring changes to the gaming compact between Arizona and the tribe. The casino will be able to convert from a Class II gaming license to a Class III gaming license. Under this new license the casino will be able to operate table games and traditional slot machines.
With the newly approved expansion project, the casino will be adding 75 table games, 1,089 slot machines, a convention center, 5 restaurants, and a hotel with 600 guest rooms.
$400 million is the cost for the new expansion project.
March 29, 2016
Arizona state officials have been denied by the federal appeals court their reqeust to prevent the Glendale casino from operating. The casino is owned by the Tohono O'odham Nation.
In 2002 there was a deal that was made between the tribe and Arizona that was then approved by voters. The state believes that the tribe intends to build their casino on non reservation land.
Arguments were rejected by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously.
The compact that was agreed upon by all parties must be upheld. It does not state that the tribe cannot build a casino in the Phoenix area.
The casino currently operates Class II gaming. There is an interest by the tribe to obtain a Class III gaming license. The ruling does not prevent the tribe from applying for one.
A Class III license would allow the tribe to operate poker, roulette, and blackjack.
December 12, 2015
This weekend the Desert Diamond Casino is set to open.
The casino gaming floor is 50,000 square feet.
1,089 slot machines of different varieties will be in operation.
Seats at the machines are custom made. Much thought was put into the comfort for the guest using the machine. The chairs were made at a certain width and a certain height to provide the most comfort. The aisles between the machines were also made wider than most other casinos to make it easier for disabled guests to navigate. Ticket redemption stations will be located in each quadrant to make them easier for guests to find.
A food court will also open on Sunday at the casino. Hamburgers, sandwiches, and salads will be offered.
The opening for the Desert Diamond Casino is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
November 10, 2015
On November 5 an unanimous ruling was made in favor of the Tohono O'odham Nation's Desert Diamond Casino. This is the 18th time the court has sided with the tribe.
The latest lawsuit was using H.B 2534 as an effort to stop the West Valley property from being taking into trust for the tribe.
The bill was signed on February 1, 2011. However two years before the bill was signed, the land was approved as reservation land by the U.S. Department of Interior Secretary.
On November 5, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the bill signed after the land was approved. Therefore the land belongs to the tribe.
The City of Glendale was previously opposed to the casino project. However now has been showing support.
The Desert Diamond Casino is scheduled to open on December 20. 500 new jobs have been created by the casino.
October 30, 2015
The new Diamond Desert West Valley Resort is scheduled to open on December 20. The resort casino is owned by the Tohono O'odham Nation. Currently the gaming floor is having the casino gaming machines installed.
The casino will offer 1,089 Class II bingo machines. The gaming floor is 40,000 square feet. There will also be a bar and food court.
The first phase of the casino resort will open in December. Total completion is estimated to take place by the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018. The casino will double in size. There will also be a hotel, a conference center, a spa, and additional dining venues.
When the Diamond Desert West Valley Resort opens, a minimum of $1.4 million will be paid to the city of Glendale under the 2014 gaming compact.
August 10, 2015
A tax on alcohol sales at casinos has been made into law by Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye.
$73,000 each year is expected to be made from the sales tax. The tax rate is 3.25 percent.
The Navajo Nation's Division of Public Safety will benefit from the money earned from the tax. It will be used to stop drunk driving.
Alcoholic beverages can only be bought and consumed at the casinos and at their Lake Powell marina.
Lawmakers for the Navajo Nation previously approved the bill.
July 27, 2015
The state of Arizona has been trying to prevent the Tohono O'odham Nation from opening their casino outside of Glendale. A federal judge has decided against allowing the state from forcing the tribe any additional documents.
Judge David Campbell of the U.S. District Court rejected the request from the state Attorney General. The judge stated that the requests were a burden and overly broad. However some information, such as estimated tribal financial statements if the tribe was not allowed to open the casino.
A request was made by the Tohono O'odham to Judge Campbell to state the state from delaying the opening of the casino. The casino is scheduled to open by the end of this year.
A hearing is set for September. The state is requesting the additional information from the tribe as part of the case. However, Campbell believes any additional requests are not necessary.
July 10, 2015
A lawsuit has been filed by the Tohono O'odham Nation to stop the state from intervening in their Phoenix casino project.
In 2009 the tribe began working on the casino, West Valley Resort. The tribe has been sued many times over the controversial casino. The courts have ruled in favor of the tribe in a majority of the cases. However, in the current lawsuit, AZ Gov. Doug Ducey believes that fraud is being committed by the tribe. That the tribe is in violation of the 2002 gaming compact. Therefore the tribe does not have the legal right to build the casino.
The Tohono O'odham Nation believes that both the governor and the Arizona Department of Gaming are overstepping and exceeding their authority.
Construction has already started on the casino. Ten months ago is when it started. It will cost $400 million to complete. Half of the money has already been spent in the development.
Gov. Ducey, Attorney General Mark Brnovich, and head of the Arizona gaming department Daniel Bergin have all been named in the suit. Bergin is trying to revoke the West Valley Resort's Class III gaming license. He has also threatened to not approve the casino or give certification to potential employees or vendors.
On May 07, District Court Judge David Campbell ruled in favor of the tribe on the grounds that there is nothing in the compact from 2002 that states that the tribe cannot build their casino. State officials disagree.
June 24, 2015
The Tohono O'odham tribe is planning on opening their casino at the end of this year. A new lawsuit has been filed by the tribe against top state officials, including Gov. Doug Ducey.
The tribe is asking a federal judge to stop the state of Arizona from preventing the opening of the casino.
In 2013 the court ruled in favor of the Tohono O'odham casino project. A federal judge stated that the tribe was allowed to open a casino based on the Arizona gaming compact and the federal law.
However, opponents state that the casino is illegal based on a gaming compact from 2002. One of the opposing groups includes the Gila River Indian Community.
An appeal has been filed over the current ruling.
Potential employees could be notified by the state about working at a gaming facility that is not authorized. Also, vendors for the West Valley Resort have received notice by the Department of Gaming that they could lose their certification if they work for the casino.
Legal troubles over the casino have lasted for six years.
The tribe claims that Gov. Ducey is trying to block the casino by defying the federal law.
On Monday the lawsuit was filed.
Ducey stated in a letter sent to state Gaming Director Daniel Bergin that Arizona can cancel its gaming compact with the tribe at any time. That letter was sent in April.
Ducey believes that the tribe committed fraud due to the lack of disclosure on the tribes plans to build the casino during negotiations with the state over the new gaming compact.
The Tohono O'odham denies the fraud. Casinos are allowed to be built on tribal land. Land between Glendale and Peoria was purchased by the tribe and taken into trust in 2010. This was approved by the Department of the Interior.
Department of the Interior was then sued by the city of Glendale and the Gila River Indian Community stating that the land trust was approved without considering the possibility that the Tohono O'odham would build a casino there.
The Tohono O'odham has also been sued by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Gila River Indian Community stating that the tribe was in violation of the gaming compact from 2002.
The Tohono O'odham won both cases in federal court.
April 23, 2015
There is another controversy with the $400 million Glendale casino. State Governor Doug Ducey is being blamed by the Tohono O'Odham Nation for stopping the casino from opening.
Economic growth and creation of new jobs was supported by the Governor in the past. However, the Chairman for the Tohono O'Odham Nation, Ned Norris Jr., does not believe that the Governor is in support of their project at all.
The tribe plans on opening a casino on their land in the West Valley. Off of 95th and Northern avenues. Plans also include a hotel and convention center.
1,300 jobs have been created by the project.
Gov. Ducey is pushing for the casino portion to be denied by the state gaming agency.
Ian Hugh, the Glendale Vice-Mayor, is in favor of the project. $1.4 million would be paid yearly to the city. The money would cover the city's operation costs.
The Tohono O'Odham Nation have been to court 13 times over the years over the proposed casino. Each time the court has ruled in favor of the tribe.
An appeal to the latest ruling has been filed by the state.
The Tohono O'dham plan to open their casino later this year.
December 03, 2014
Construction has begun on the new Tohono O'odham Nation $400 million casino and resort.
The tribe has completed the necessary testing of the property's soil and surveying previously. Grading of the land can now begin. It will cost $7 million for the grading to be completed.
Subcontractors have also been chosen by the tribe. The first phase of the casino will consist of steal construction.
The future casino resort has been marked with controversy. The project has received opposition from elected officials in the West Valley and other Native American tribes operating casinos in the Phoenix area.
However, a federal law from 1986 allowed for the Tohono O'odham Nation allowed for the tribe to purchase land in unincorporated Maricopa County.
The tribe was then sued over the casino development. The courts ruled in favor of the O'odham.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of the Interior allowed for the tribe to place the land into trust and begin the building of the casino.
September 02, 2014
The new West Valley Casino and Resort broke ground on August 28.
The Tohono O'odham Nation was welcomed by the mayor, Bob Barrett. 250 guests also attended the ceremony that took place near Northern and 91st avenues.
Proposition 202 was approved by voters in 2002. The measure changed Indian gaming guidelines. It also allowed for the Tohono O'odham to build their latest casino.
The West Valley Casino and Resort will be the tribe's fourth casino.
3,500 jobs will be created during the construction of the the casino resort. 3,000 full time positions will be created after the project is completed. It is estimated to take 3 years until completed.
August 06, 2014
The city of Glendale is looking to form an agreement between the Native American tribe that plans to build their casino in the city. A meeting will take place on Tuesday to vote on a proposed plan.
The Tohono O'odham have fought to build their casino there for since early 2009 before they won the right. Currently they operate other casino locations in the state's southern area.
The tribe has proposed to pay Glendale an annually increasing amount of $1.4 million. The deal would continue until 2026. After that time, the amount will go down to $900,000. Money for marketing will also be given to the city.
July 29, 2014
A bill was introduced this week by two Arizona senators. The measure would stop the development of new casinos in Phoenix's metro area.
Senator Jeff Flake and Senator John McCain proposed the bill. The intention is to prevent the building of the Glendale casino by the Tohono O'odham Nation. The tribe has been trying to build the controversial casino in the Westgate Entertainment District.
Contractors for the new casino were announced yesterday by the tribe.
July 15, 2014
A resolution has been agreed upon by the Glendale City Council in regards to the proposed casino. The city has given the approval for the Tohono O'Odham Nation to build their casino.
The council voted on Tuesday. They voted 4 to 3 in favor of building the casino in the entertainment and sports district of the city.
It is estimated that the Glendale casino will raise $300 million for the area yearly.
Since 2009 the Tohono O'Odham has tried to make the casino a reality. During that time the tribe has faced opposition. One of the groups opposed to the plan is the Gila River Indian Community. They claim that the casino will violate Arizona laws and zoning laws. In 2002 a compact was passed by voters that would prevent the metro Phoenix area from developing additional casinos.
March 18, 2014
The Glendale casino is facing opposition from mayors in Arizona. Congress is being encouraged by the group to approve a proposed bill that will keep the casino from being built.
The Tohono O'odham nation wants to build the West Valley Resort and Casino. It will cost $550 million to complete.
The casino project has been controversial. Other tribes in the state have tried to stop the project. Stating that the casino would be in violation of a law that was passed in 2002 by Arizona voters. The law prevented the Phoenix area from developing new casinos.
However, Tohono O'odham nation states that the casino would be built on land exempt from the law.
H.R. 1410, also nicknamed Keep The Promise act, is a proposed measure that will keep the West Valley Resort and Casino from being built. The act will not allow for any tribal casinos to be developed until 2027. That is when the current gaming compact between tribes and state are set to expire. At that time, negotiations will take place to agree on new gaming compacts.
The state house has approved the bill. The Senate approval will be needed next for the bill to continue.
March 2, 2009
GLENDALE, AZ - The Gila River Indian Community publicly opposes the proposal by the Tohono O'odham Nation to build a 600-room resort and casino in Glendale.
In January the Tohono O'odham Nation applied to the federal government to take 134 acres at 91st and Northern avenues into trust for the tribe. This would create reservation land for their West Valley resort and casino.
Tribal spokeswoman Alia Maisonet said the tribe supports state compacts for Indian gaming on reservations and does not support off-reservation casinos. "Until it goes into trust and the bureau (Bureau of Indian Affairs) makes that call, technically it's still not reservation."
Tohono O'Odham Chairman Ned Norris Jr. disagrees with arguments that the Glendale casino would impact the state gaming compact and believes his tribe has a right to have the land placed into trust as part of a previous federal settlement for their reservation land.
February 22, 2009
GLENDALE, AZ - The Tohono O'odham Nation has released more information regarding their plans to build ad casino resort in Glendale, which would be the largest in Arizona. The proposed site is 135 acres at 91st and Northern avenues. The location is about a mile north of the Arizona Cardinals' stadium and Jobing.com Arena.
The Tohono O'odham Nation, formerly known as the Papago, has released renderings of the 1.2 million-square-foot resort and casino. The projected investment will be between $500 million and $600 million.
The resort includes 150,000 square feet of gaming space, a 1,000-seat bingo hall, 25 poker tables, and a 600-room hotel. There will also be eight food and beverage venues, two bars, a nightclub, and a 3-acre atrium with waterfalls and a botanical garden.
It is estimated the resort would draw an estimated 1.2 million visitors a year.
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