A little more than than twenty years ago, the state of Arizona’s San Carlos Apache Nation opened their first casino. They have long been one of the poorest Native American tribes, and they hoped to change this with the opening of the Apache Gold Casino Resort that would provide both revenue and local jobs.
Located just five minutes from the city of Globe, located in Gila county, the San Carlos Apache tribe’s casino and resort featured an 18 hole championship professional golf course and a 146 room Best Western hotel. Nightly cabaret shows and a 60 space RV park were also included in the resort. After the grand opening in 2010, the tribe still remains one of the poorest in the Nation.
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How bad is it? Forty percent of the tribe’s population is under the age of 18 and the same percentage of households report an annual income of less than $20,000.
The Upcoming Expansion:
The San Carlos tribe is not giving up though. New construction and renovation plans are in the works. The construction of the tribe’s second casino is bringing new hope for some much needed economic help. The Apache Sky Casino will be built along the Copper Corridor on Arizona Highway 77. It will be only 50 miles from the Apache Gold Casino, but will be able to be accessed from the busy highway according to Indian gaming resources. With the construction budget set at $26 million and will be completed by, tribal leaders are hoping this larger resort will actually help generate capital for the reservation.
Located in Dudleyville at the foot of the mountains north of Tucson AZ, the casino will have 500 slot machines, poker and gaming tables, a restaurant and a lounge. If it does become the success that tribal leaders are hoping for, phase two will include hotel rooms, and possibly other entertainment options.
Expectations are high for these new casino developments. It is not only the San Carlos Apache tribe, but residents of the surrounding areas as well. Jobs are expected to rise, as the casino and subsequent hotels and entertainment areas are built. While the tribe does admit that hiring preference will be given to tribal members, community leaders are confident that many other employees will be brought in from off of the reservation.
With the added hotel rooms, community financial and planning leaders are also hoping to begin drawing tourist dollars from Phoenix and Tucson. Tim Kanavel, Pinal County Economic Development member, insists that even thought these new casinos will be on sovereign land the surrounding counties will still see an influx of additional revenue.
As the multimillion dollar construction continues, expectations continue to run high and only time will tell if these casinos are worth their price tags.
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