Glendale Drops Opposition To Tribal Casino

By  Al Macias
July 15, 2014

The Glendale city council has dropped its long-standing opposition to a proposed casino near the city.

In a 4-3 vote this afternoon, council members directed city staff to begin negotiations with the Tohono O’odham nation, which announced plans for the casino in 2009. The tribe acquired land near the city as part of a federal land exchange.

Glendale fought plans for the casino, saying it would threaten local businesses. Councilman Gary Sherwood said the city was not in a strong legal position. He took office last year and was initially opposed to the casino. He says after meeting with tribal leaders and assessing the city’s chances he changed his mind.

"Because of all the court decisions made over the last three or four years, including one a couple of weeks ago," Sherwood said. "It pretty much says the Tohono O’odhams are in the driver’s seat and hey expect the other legal to run its course very quickly."

He says planned developments near the Westgate entertainment center and near the Arizona Cardinals stadium were put on hold during the recession. He says a resort and casino could spur development again.

"By putting in a casino that can be built in 16 months and then a resort and another hotel to follow that take place very quickly," he said.

Sherwood said the city will drop its lawsuits against  the Tohono O’odham. The Gila River Indian Community, which operates several casinos, says it will continue to oppose the Glendale area casino. Gila River governor Gregory Mendoza said in a release the Tohono O’odham casino could violate the state gaming compact, which limits the number of Indian gaming casinos in the state. 

Updated 7/15/2014 at 6:48 p.m.