Gila River tribe breaks ground on new casino project

Mesa, Arizona (AP) 11-07

Gila River Tribal officials say a new casino project will bring jobs and added funding for programs that help the Indian community’s young and elderly.

“We’re expecting the new casino and hotel to produce even more revenue than we’re earning now,” said John Straus, director of Gila River Gaming Enterprises Inc., the agency that markets the tribe’s two casinos.

The tribe broke ground on its latest venture during late November – a 10-story, $200 million hotel and casino south of Chandler.

The tribe said it expects construction of the new Wild Horse Pass Casino & Hotel to begin during December, with an opening set for May 2009.

“This will not only enhance Chandler and surrounding area, but it will be a boon to the Gila River Indian Community,” Straus said.

The community consists of 600 square miles with nearly 2,000 residents.

Tribal Gov. William Rhodes said the casino project will create new jobs, including 350 at the hotel and 150 at the gaming tables.

“The support for the casino and hotel comes from the surrounding communities,” said Rhodes. “It’s the best thing that could happen.”