Tohono O’odham nation gets compact approval from DOI

By Robert Simmons
The Tohono O’odham tribe have received the green light from the US Department of the Interior to amend their tribal compact with the state of Arizona, paving the way for the tribe to commence expansion work on a $400m casino development in Glendale, Arizona.

Earlier this year a long-running legal dispute between the tribe and the state of Arizona was resolved, resulting in the creation of an amended tribal compact agreement.

Under the terms of the new compact the tribe will be able to utilise real slot machines and table games at its upcoming casino development. The agreement is contingent on state officials dropping their opposition to the introduction of said casino games and the Tohono O’odham tribe dropping its pending lawsuit against the state.

In return for this state authorities granted the Class III certification to the tribe’s Desert Diamond casino on the condition that they not conduct Class II or Class III activities anywhere else in the Phoenix metropolitan area for a period of 15 years.

Tribal officials announced the expansion of the existing Desert Diamond casino last week, ending years of speculation and legal disputes concerning the Glendale site.

The new and improved casino will occupy over one million square-feet, including five restaurants and 75,000 square-feet of casino floor with 1,089 Class III slots, live poker, blackjack and bingo creating over 3,000 jobs in the local area. At present the tribe operates 1,089 bingo machines on the site which they plan to replace with slots machines over the next two years.

The current Desert Diamond facility cannot currently handle the volume of slots and table games being introduced, so the tribe plan to expand to main floor to include these games and a hotel with multiple dining options. The new and improved Desert Diamond Casino development is expected to open to visitors in 2019.


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