On May 20, 2023, Gila River Resorts & Casinos announced their new $180 million Santan Mountain Casino will open on June 30, 2023. This is the fourth casino that Gila River has built in the Phoenix area. The others are Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte, and Vee Quiva.
Given the reports about the casino and a new video, I decided to take a gambler's look at the facility.
Here is where the casino is located:
The address is 7101 Gilbert Road. From the I-10 south, you can exit East Riggs Road exit and head east to South Gilbert Road. East Hunt Highway is the nearest crossroad.
From 101 Loop, take the 202 Loop east and then exit onto Highway 87 and head south to East Hunt Highway. Head east on East Hunt Highway until you reach South Gilbert Road and then turn south.
What It Does and Doesn't Have
The negatives first: there will be no hotel. Gila River already has a resort hotel at Wild Horse Pass Resort and Casino with 446 rooms available. This is the 4th casino for Gila River Resorts and Casinos in Arizona. But this new Santan Mountain Casino in South Chandler will have no attached hotel. However, Gila River says a future hotel may be planned at a later date.
There will also be no poker room. There is already a 30-table poker room at Lone Butte Casino.
The positives are the casino will have 850 slots and table games spread across more than a 33,000-square-foot gambling floor. This includes three pits for table games, a high-limit area, and a 7,000-square-foot BetMGM sportsbook room, the largest sportsbook in Arizona.
The sportsbook room also includes plush seating, multiple large-screen TVs, and a spot for a DJ when games aren’t happening.
The high-limit area features a bar, named Premia, and opens to an outdoor garden.
Visitors will choose from table games such as roulette, craps, mini-baccarat, and blackjack as well as an exclusive high-limit gaming salon.
In addition, the casino will feature windows, an unheard-of feature in other casinos. It will also have high-class dining, including Honey and Vine, its signature restaurant serving rotisserie specialties with ingredients grown in the Gila River Indian Community.
There will also be a food court with three restaurants: Rizzo's, serving pizzas and Italian food, Taste Kitchen, serving American traditions, and Mein Dish, serving Asian cuisine. There is also a Hive bar serving 20 draft beers.
Santan Mountain is the first new casino built in the state with an updated gaming compact. Another casino is in construction in Glendale, AZ scheduled to open in 2024 owned by the Desert Diamond casino operations in Phoenix.
That will make 10 casinos in the Phoenix area, including 4 from Gila River Resorts and Casinos, 2 from Desert Diamond, 2 from Casino Arizona (including Talking Stick Resort and Casino in Scottsdale), 1 from the WeKoPa Casino in Fountain Hills, AZ and 1 from Harrah's Casino in Maricopa.
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