The proposed West Valley Resort in suburban Phoenix will generate 0 million in annual revenues, employ thousands of area residents, create a ripple of economic development and have only a minimal impact on local American Indian casinos.
That’s the rosy forecast predicted by firms hired by the Tohono O’odham Nation.
Coupled with the recent opening of Navajo Nation’s Twin Arrows resort casino near Flagstaff and the planned development by the San Carlos Apache Tribe of the Apache Sky Casino in Pinal County, West Valley Resort also will grow a relatively stagnant, $1.8 billion tribal government gaming industry.
Arizona gambling revenue increased 3 percent in 2012, according to Analysis Group economist Alan Meister’s Indian Gaming Industry Report, the second year of growth following declines from 2008 to 2010.
The Glendale project, when built out over four years, will generate 1.2 million visits per year and include a 150,000-square-foot casino with more than 200,000 square feet of convention and meeting space, according to a project summary by Analysis Group and Spectrum Gaming.
The project will create 6,236 construction jobs and 3,166 full-time positions, according to the Analysis Group/Spectrum report.
Seven Phoenix-area casinos will likely see only a 2.5 percent dip in aggregate gambling revenue, according to the summary.
Although existing urban casinos are located in the East Valley, tribes believe the impact of a Glendale project will be more serious than predictions in the Analysis Group/Spectrum report.
The complete study was not accessible on the WestValleyResort.com website, and Meister did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
West Valley Resort also is expected to ignite new and stagnant housing, office park, retail and entertainment development projects left dormant following the crash of 2008.
“Within the last few weeks, a couple of developers said they felt they wanted to see the casino project approved before they did anything,” Glendale Councilman Gary Sherwood says.
The city recently applied for nearly $800,000 in grants from Tohono O’odham to bolster public safety, youth sports programs and library services.
The tribe and Glendale city officials last month were expected to enter into a potentially lucrative memorandum of understanding to cover city services for the project.
“It’s going to be a very different arrangement than anybody else has had,” Sherwood says of other tribal-municipal agreements, including payments into the city’s general fund.