New Desert Diamond Casino Is in the Rough with Arizona’s Gaming Department

LBN’s Bob Donley reports that Desert Diamond Casino in Maricopa County’s West Valley has gotten into some trouble with the Arizona Department of Gaming. Donley reports that the department will be mailing out notices on July 3 to prospective casino employees that they cannot work at the casino.

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The casino, a $200 million project, has been under construction for months. The casino sits along highway 101 and borders both Glendale and Peoria, Arizona. The project has not been popular with the State of Arizona and with local tribes other than the Tohono O’odham Nation, who would operate the casino. The Nation has been in a six-year legal battle to open the project.

The gaming department’s position, Donley says, is that the Nation committed fraud in 2002 while negotiating a gaming compact with the department. The department says the compact covers the entire valley. However, a federal judge ruled two years ago that the compact does not specifically bar the building of more casinos. That case is being appealed. The gaming department will not allow the casino to open until all legal issues have been resolved.

Meanwhile, the Tohono O’odham Nation is continuing with construction and says that the casino will be ready to open its doors by the end of the year. The Nation has asked a federal court for a temporary injunction that would permit the casino to open. The people caught in the middle are the prospective employees who face the prospect of losing their gaming licenses.

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