John McCain sponsored a measure to alter a previous law compensating the Tohono O’odham nation for land previously flooded by a federal dam project. The tribe is positioned to construct and operate a casino near the Arizona Cardinals Stadium. The version of the bill that was passed earlier by the House did not even make it past the Senate committee. The law compensated the tribe with cash, and allowed the purchase of more property. This went into effect over a decade ago, but announcements for a casino didn’t come until 2009.
Numerous legal battles have failed in the past, and spokespeople for the tribe say it is now time to move forward. The controversy includes not only citizens of Glendale, where the propsed site is, but other regional tribes. The Gila River Indian Community, along with others in Maricopa County, there would be no casinos in the Phoenix area. Financial concerns have arisen from the possibility of high completion affecting other casinos. There is some hope for the detractors yet, however, with the new Republican controlled Senate starting next year.
The Glendale City Council which had opposed and fought the plans earlier, has recently changed course with the advent of a financial agreement with the tribe. This would bring in 25 million dollars over the next decade to the city. There would be a 500 thousand dollar payment made immediately, followed by 1.4 million dollars each years with an annual two percent increase.
The casino will have over 1,000 slot machines, fifty gaming tables, and a bingo hall. An attached hotel will feature 600 rooms, five restaurants and a nightclub. The fifty four acres has been placed in a trust by the Department of the Interior, and it appears for the time being, that all hurdles have been cleared.
This is a big casino that many people are excited about. However, not everyone wants a casino right in their backyard and they are hoping to vote it right off the plans so the law makers can move onto another prospective spot for the upcoming year.