CHANDLER, AZ – Gila River Hotels & Casinos officially announced its newest project, Santan Mountain, at a recent groundbreaking ceremony on Gila River Indian Community land south of Chandler, AZ. During the ceremony, Gila River Indian Community (GRIC), Gila River Hotels & Casinos and project leadership invited partners and state officials to celebrate the 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 on the southeast corner of Gilbert Road and Hunt Highway will continue growing the legacy of Gila River Hotels & Casinos in Arizona. With over 27 years of gaming experience, this new venue was cultivated to bring a desired entertainment destination and convenient location to the growing Southeast Valley. The development will boast lush décor, breathtaking mountain views and state-of-the-art amenities set against the backdrop of the picturesque desert. GRIC also operates Gila River Hotels & Casinos – Wild Horse Pass and Lone Butte, both in Chandler, and Vee Quiva in the West Valley.
During the morning event, Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis and Gila River Hotels & Casinos CEO Kenneth Manuel unearthed fresh dirt with the project team. Governor Lewis shared his deep appreciation for Community members and his excitement for the future.
“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,” said Governor Lewis, adding that the project is estimated to create 650 new jobs.
Gila River Hotels & Casinos CEO Kenneth Manuel praised the innovative design concepts of the project. “We are thrilled with the architectural renderings and design components that have been presented to us – they are ensuring that Santan Mountain will be a premier gaming destination for years to come,” said Manuel.
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.
When complete, which is expected to take 18 to 24 months, Santan Mountain will include more than 850 slots and table games including mini baccarat, craps and roulette as well as a high limit gaming salon. The sportsbook will extend the casino floor and offer plush seating, multiple large-screen TV’s 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.
Gila River’s Casino Expansion Owner’s Team Chairman and Councilman Anthony Villareal, Sr. expressed his appreciation for the many people who came together to bring the project to fruition.
“I’m so proud to witness this historic moment, which really is a testament to the hard work of our board and the collaboration of our partners and team members,” said Villareal. “We will have many exciting milestones ahead with Santan Mountain, and all of them will be beneficial to our Community.”
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 to the Chandler property. The project marks the first expansion since Wild Horse Pass opened in 2009.