LBN’s Bob Donley reports that a new casino is just about ready to open for business in Arizona. The Desert Diamond Casino in West Valley is on schedule to open in December, according to the Tohono O'odham Nation. The casino is located in Glendale near the Arizona Cardinals stadium.
The Tohono O’odham Nation says that the casino will open in spite of a continuing dispute with the Arizona about the casino. Donley talked about the casino’s problems in this July 2, 2015 report. The state’s contention is that a compact signed by the Nation and approved by Arizona voters in 2002 prohibits the Nation from opening a casino in the West Valley. The state has gone to court seeking to stop the casino from opening, Donley says, but the matter is as yet unresolved.
The Nation maintains that it has a right to open the casino, and construction is continuing. The Nation will initially operate Class II gaming at the casino, rather than the more preferred Class III license. The gaming classifications were established by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. The Nation hopes to upgrade to Class III later.
Donley says that the catch is that the state government can regulate Class III operations but has no authority over Class II gaming. At the present, Arizona refuses to issue a Class III license to the casino. The Nation is sidestepping the problem by opening a Class II casino. The Class II license means that the things that look like slot machines will fall into the bingo classification. Also, there will be no live table games like blackjack, a popular game in any casino. The Nation hopes that the public’s appetite for gaming will be strong enough to make the casino a going concern until all legal issues can be resolved.
The casino has stirred some interest, Donley says. At a recent job fair, three thousand people lined up for a chance to work at the Desert Diamond. Four hundred applicants were immediately hired. The Desert Diamond is ready to go.
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