Gila River Resorts & Casinos is set to open its latest addition to Arizona’s Metro Phoenix gaming market, Santan Mountain, on June 30. Boasting a wide array of amenities, the $180 million casino has been under construction for approximately 18 months and will feature the largest casino sportsbook in Arizona, along with 813 slot machines, table games and a new full-service specialty restaurant.
Santan Mountain is the first new casino to emerge after an updated tribal gaming compact that expanded the offerings of tribal casinos and legalized sports betting. Situated near Chandler at Gilbert Road and the future Santan Mountain Drive, the casino aims to become a premier entertainment destination for locals and visitors alike.
Blake Katsnelson, the General Manager of Santan Mountain, expressed excitement about the casino’s features. “We have designed this casino as an entertainment experience, offering more than just gambling. Traditional gaming is not the way; it’s the extra amenities that we offer,” he told AZ Central.
The new casino pays homage to the rich culture of the Gila River Indian Community, incorporating design elements that reflect the community’s heritage. Notable features include colors associated with cardinal directions, artwork from local artists, and art pieces representing significant places within the tribe’s reservation. The casino showcases seven paintings, each capturing scenes from one of the tribe’s districts.
Gila River's Wild Horse Pass, also in the Valley area
Santan Mountain will set itself apart with the largest casino sportsbook in Arizona, covering an expansive 7,000 square feet. The state-of-the-art BetMGM sportsbook features both booth and individual seating options. Visitors can reserve a table to watch their favorite games or events, and the sportsbook also includes the Upper Deck Deli, a convenient deli counter.
Additionally, the casino offers a new specialty restaurant called Honey and Vine, which focuses on utilizing ingredients grown in the Gila River Indian Community. The menu will feature an emphasis on meats and chops, and the restaurant boasts a private dining room.
A three-restaurant food court adds to the culinary offerings of Santan Mountain. Rizzo’s offers pizza and Italian cuisine, Taste Kitchen serves American favorites, and Mein Dish provides an Asian culinary experience.
For table game enthusiasts, there are three pits available, including a high-limit area. Notably, the high-limit roulette table features a white roulette wheel, a unique feature rarely seen in the United States where roulette wheels are traditionally black. The high-limit area also features its own bar, Premia, with an indoor/outdoor space that opens to a charming garden.
Gila River broke ground on the new casino about 18 months ago
Santan Mountain goes beyond gaming and dining to provide event spaces suitable for various occasions, including weddings. The property features an event lawn with seating capacity and an outdoor water feature, creating an enchanting setting for ceremonies.
Additionally, a spacious ballroom will serve as a versatile performance space for various events. Meanwhile, the main bar, known as the Hive, offers an impressive selection of 20 beers on tap and surrounds guests with an artistic installation called the Tree of Life, adorned with captivating colored lights.
Situated on a vast 160-acre property, Santan Mountain presents potential for future expansion. Gila River Resorts & Casinos is considering the addition of a hotel, although discussions are still in their preliminary stages, Public Relations Manager Daniela Vizcarra told Phoenix Business Journal.
Santan Mountain Casino will be Gila River’s fourth casino in the Valley, joining Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva.