First look: Gila River places big bets on new Santan Mountain Casino

First look: Gila River places big bets on new Santan Mountain Casino

Officials from Gila River Resorts & Casinos say that they will fill a void of entertainment in the southeast valley.

Santan Mountain casino, located south of Chandler, is expected to open on June 30. The new 150,000 square-foot casino at the southeast corner Gilbert Road and Hunt Highway, will feature several dining options, an event space, outdoor area, BetMGM's sportsbook, lounge, and a large gaming space with more than 800 slots and 25 table games.

Gila River Resorts & Casinos (the enterprise arm of Gila River Indian Community) opened Santan Mountain Casino to the media on Wednesday as the 18-month construction project neared its end.

Blake Katsnelson is the general manager of Santan Mountain Casino. He said, "On this side, there's nothing in terms of entertainment, restaurants, or sportsbooks." "I think Queen Creek and Santan are underserved in terms of their gaming options."

Katsnelson anticipates 700 new employees to work in the casino. Katsnelson, who has worked at Gila River Casino for 15 years, was most recently the general manager of Lone Butte Casino.

Santan Mountain Casino's design and aesthetic is based on what players want today. The days of smoke-filled, dimly lit gaming floors are over. Santan Mountain Casino features lighter colors and two gardens on site, as well as artwork by the Gila River Indian Community.

See inside the Valley's new casino by clicking through the gallery below:

Santan Mountain Casino has a no-smoking rule not only on the floor but also at the entrances. There are designated smoking patios located away from the main entryways.

There will be several dining and drinking options at the casino, including a Honey & Vine restaurant and a food hall that includes Taste Kitchen and Rizzo's Pizza.

The expansion of casino properties is a possible future possibility

Santan Mountain Casino was built by Penta Building Group of Las Vegas, which also has experience in building other casinos around the Valley. Steelman Partners is an architecture firm that has also designed casinos. The portfolio of the firm includes the Circa Resort & casino and Resorts World Las Vegas, as well as other casinos in gambling cities such Atlantic City and Macau.

Gila River has declined to reveal the costs of building Santan Mountain casino.

Gila River has also adopted new technology, such as microphones placed above the heads of players that can adjust the volume in the room according to the sound made by the players. In the 7,000 square foot sportsbook, guests can charge their smartphones wirelessly in booths.

Santan Mountain will feature a high limit room with table games, slot machines and a bar. Katsnelson stated that the casino would adopt casino credit. This is a system in which pre-approved players do not have to pay cash up front to play. Katsnelson stated that casino credit has not been offered in Arizona but believes the state will be moving towards this option.

The casino may not be the only thing to come out of the 160-acre property. Daniela Vizcarra, Public Relations Manager at Gila River, said that there is potential for the casino to expand onto the 160-acre property with a hotel. However, these conversations are still in their very early stages.

Santan Mountain Casino is Gila River's 4th casino in the Valley. It joins Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte, and Vee Quiva.