Cover Story: Gila River Resorts & Casinos Opens Santan Mountain

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Kenneth Manuel, Chief Executive Officer, Gila River Hotels & Casinos and Blake Katsnelson, General Manager at Gila River Resorts & Casinos – Santan Mountain share insights to the newly opened property in Arizona.

For decades, Las Vegas has been a gaming hub for players around the globe. Gila River Resorts & Casinos in Phoenix, has elevated its amenities to create a new Las Vegas-style gaming oasis in the Southwest. With these new offerings, the luxury casino recently celebrated the grand opening of its $180 million casino, Santan Mountain.

Gila River operates four locations, Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte, Vee Quiva and the all-new Santan Mountain. The locations are all owned by the Gila River Indian Community.

A Sleek and Modern Update

The new property, Santan Mountain, features floor to ceiling windows, 33,000 sq. feet of gaming floor, 813 slot machines, 25 table games, the only white roulette wheel in the country, BetMGM Sportsbook (the largest casino sportsbook in the state), outdoor gardens, event space and new food concepts including Mein Dish, Upper Deck Deli, and Honey & Vine. The sit down restaurant Honey & Vine features an outdoor patio, coffee bar, all day food service as well as a live music.

As the first new build in a decade, the property is nothing less than a showstopper. Opened in July 2023, the $180 million 20-month project was designed and built by Steelman Partners, PENTA Building Group and Tynan Group, and brought more than 700 new jobs to the east valley of Phoenix.

When designing the new property, the team decided to take a new approach and developed a sleek and modern vibe. White marble, natural lighting and neutral colors stand out against the traditional looks of casinos. This new build is a continuation of Gila River’s long-term expansion plan to elevate the guest’s gaming experience.

Last year, the Wild Horse Pass location unveiled its $180m. luxury expansion. The 18-month project included a new resort lobby, tower with 200 rooms including balcony suites, two pools, event center, BetMGM Sportsbook, the only Topgolf Swing Suite in the state of Arizona, and Prime, A Shula’s Steakhouse on the rooftop.

The new Sunrise Tower is the heart of the expansion and Prime is the gem of the tower. Sitting on the 11th floor roof, guests enjoy breathtaking views of the Estrella Mountains all while indulging in the modern steakhouse.

Enjoy Exclusive Table Games Access

Whether you are seeking glitz and glamour or desire to be low-key in a high-stakes game, you can find exceptional table games at all Gila River properties. With the newly amended Tribal gaming compact, Arizonans can now experience Las Vegas-style table games including roulette, craps, and baccarat. Gamers from across the country have been flocking to the southwest to experience the new offerings, many of which can only be found in Arizona at Gila River Resorts & Casinos.

While fun, games and the “You Do You” mantra is a priority, helping those in need is always top of mind. Gila River prides itself on its giving heart and supports local nonprofits through the Gila River Cares program. Through this ongoing program, Gila River and its guests donate funds throughout the year to support education and child welfare. Like the gaming enterprise, Gila River’s guests love to support these organizations and look forward to getting involved in any way they can.

Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Gila River has something for everyone. From fine dining, upscale resorts and state of the art sportsbooks, everyone can “Own Their Moment” at Gila River Resorts & Casinos. For more information visit, or follow us along on our social channels at @PlayAtGila.

Christine Faria 52 Articles