Tour Desert Diamond Casino West Valley, which opens Feb. 19

Tuesday 28th January 2020

More than 1,100 silent slot machines with colorful displays sit beside dozens of blackjack and poker tables still covered in shrink wrap, lining the floor inside the new Desert Diamond Casino West Valley, set to open 8 p.m. Feb. 19.

Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on the $400 million, 1.2 million-square-foot casino near 93rd and Northern avenues that's been years in the making.

The casino will replace a smaller casino that has offered slot machines, but no table games the past four years. Northwest Valley residents for the first time will be able to play table games close to home.

The only other West Valley casino is Vee Quiva, near 51st Avenue on the Gila River Indian Reservation.

The Tohono O'odham Nation's new Desert Diamond Casino will include:

By comparison, Talking Stick Resort and Casino, near Scottsdale, has more than 900 slot machines. Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino, near Chandler, has more than 1,000 slots.

"Hats off to all our past leaders because we wouldn't be here today in this beautiful facility without them," said Elton Begay, police chief for the Tohono O'odham Police Department.

After the casino opens, work will start on the next phase, which will feature a full-service resort, convention space and possibly a concert venue.

There's no timeline yet for construction on the next phase.

Once the next phase is finished, the site should be close to 2.3 million square feet.

The new casino will have about 2,000 employees, and 1,300 of them -- both full-time and part-time -- are new positions.

Open positions can be found at at ddcaz.com/careers-open-jobs.

It's not yet clear what will take over the existing casino's building.

The current casino, in a much smaller building next door, was built to be a warehouse for the new casino, project development director Randy Howe said. Staff are currently using an off-site warehouse, so they may convert the current casino to an events center.

"Getting this up and running is our priority," Howe said of the new casino. "What happens next with the little building, whether it becomes a warehouse, I don't know."

Plans for the casino stretch back more than a decade.

When Tohono O'odham Nation officials first announced plans for a casino in 2009, Glendale, other tribes and state leaders pushed back. Lawsuits drug on until tribal and state leaders settled in 2017.

The casino broke ground later that year with the support of Glendale and its surrounding communities.

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