Glendale City Council agrees to start formal negotiations on casino

GLENDALE, AZ - The Tohono O’odham Nation and City of Glendale are starting formal negotiations to discuss the possibility of the West Valley Resort and Casino, closing a five-year conflict between the two groups, according to officials from the tribe and Glendale.

The casino would be located on the south side of Northern Avenue and 91st Avenue.

In the past, Glendale has opposed the idea of a casino within its city limits, but this latest move shows the city has opened up to the idea, according to Julie Frisoni with the City of Glendale.

The city council voted 4-3 Tuesday to direct city staff to start business negotiations with the tribe for the West Valley Resort, Frisoni says.

The negotiations between the tribe and the city will include costs, opportunities and potential revenue-sharing, Frisoni says.

Despite the formal negotiations, the city council is still officially opposed to a casino at that site, as changing that position would require a vote at a later time, according to Frisoni.

“The situation is still very complicate and complex, and while the council vote was not unanimous, it does provide city staff with direction,” she said.

The potential casino was also the subject of a federal court case and U.S. House bill. The ruling in the case said that Arizona’s gaming agreement doesn’t ban the building of more casinos in the Phoenix metro area.

The House bill , supported by Rep. Trent Franks, would have banned most gambling on tribal replacement lands in Pinal, Pima and Maricopa counties.

“This dangerous bill was offered after the Nation won thirteen straight legal decisions and it is opposed by cities across the West Valley, as well as tribes across the country,” the Tohono O’odham Nation said in a press release.

In October 2013 , the Glendale City Council advised city staff to start informational meetings with the Tohono O’odham Nation, and the groups have had multiple meetings since then, which the tribe called “positive.”

“On behalf of the Nation, I applaud the Glendale City Council for taking these important steps toward partnership, job creation and positive economic development,” Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr., said in a press release.

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