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Gila River Hotels & Casinos Breaks Ground on its Fourth Casino

Gila River Hotels & Casinos in Arizona announced its newest project, Santan Mountain, at a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 19 on Gila River Indian Community land south of Chandler, AZ. During the momentous ceremony, Gila River Indian Community (GRIC), Gila River Hotels & Casinos, and project leadership invited partners and state officials to celebrate the historic addition of Gila River’s fourth casino, which was approved by the state’s reinstated and amended gaming compact in May.

Described as a “modern, inviting desert oasis,” the dynamic entertainment and gaming venue  will continue growing the legacy of Gila River Hotels & Casinos in Arizona. With over 27 years of exceptional gaming experience, this new venue was cultivated to bring a desired entertainment destination and convenient location to the growing Southeast Valley. GRIC operates Gila River Hotels & Casinos – Wild Horse Pass and Lone Butte, both in Chandler; and Vee Quiva in the West Valley.

The development will boast lush décor, breathtaking mountain views and state-of-the-art amenities set against the backdrop of the pristine, picturesque desert.

“Not only will Santan Mountain bring additional revenue, sustainability and critical services to our community members, it will elevate our prestige in the gaming and hospitality industry as we continue to craft an entertainment dynasty,” he said, adding that the project is estimated to create 650 new jobs.

Gila River Hotels & Casinos hired renowned international architectural and interior design firm, Steelman Partners, and The PENTA Building Group, to design and construct the casino, which is expected to take 18 to 24 months.

Paul Curtis Steelman, CEO of Steelman Partners, is recognized as a visionary designer of global entertainment, hospitality and gaming architecture. He was the lead architect for the new Resorts World Las Vegas, and he has designed buildings for gaming industry mavericks, including Kirk Kerkorian, Steve Wynn, Sheldon Adelson and Stanley Ho.

Gila River Hotels & Casinos CEO Kenneth Manuel praised Steelman Partners for its 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.

Steelman said a key focus of the project is to bring the texture, light and elements of the outdoors—inside. The main casino will feature lush, blooming saguaro carpeting, natural light cascading from circular skylights, custom bubble glass and colors inspired by the rising and setting sun that bring unique serenity to the casino floor.

“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,” Steelman said.

When complete, Santan Mountain will include more than 850 slots and table games including mini baccarat, craps and roulette, as well as an exclusive High Limit Gaming Salon. The BetMGM sportsbook will extend the casino floor and offer plush seating, multiple large-screen TVs for viewing live games and convenient sports betting.

The new property will also provide multiple dining options and a lively bar in the center of the casino floor featuring entertainment. A hotel may be added in the future. The project also calls for road and other infrastructure improvements in the surrounding area.

The gaming enterprise is also slated to open a $143 million expansion project at Wild Horse Pass later this year—bringing 205 additional guest rooms, new meeting space, two pools and a rooftop restaurant and lounge.

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