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Every casino in the Greater Phoenix area is temporarily closing to help fight COVID-19

Posted at 8:58 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 20:59:48-04

PHOENIX — Gila River Hotels and Casinos announced Tuesday evening that it would temporarily close three of its casinos -- Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte, and Vee Quiva -- for two weeks in an effort to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

The three casinos will officially close at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18, according to a news release.

“As a gaming and hospitality leader in Arizona, we felt it was in everyone’s best interest to be proactive and close our hotels and casinos to do our part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19),” said Kenneth Manuel, CEO of Gila River Hotels & Casinos, in a statement. “We have been actively following the guidelines and best practices set forth from the CDC, WHO and the Arizona Department of Health Services. While there have been no reported cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) at any Gila River Hotels & Casinos property as of today, this was an ethical decision to protect our team members and our guests.”

Those staying at either hotels at Wild Horse Pass or Vee Quiva can remain at the hotel or be relocated, said Teaya Vicente, public relations manager for Gila River Hotels & Casinos.

Gila River was the first of the casinos in the Phoenix area to close amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


After initially saying it would remain open, Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort reversed course early Wednesday and decided to close both of their casinos at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, according to a news release that was sent out around 1 a.m. Both casinos will remain closed through March 31, the release said.

"We appreciate everyone’s patience as this situation continues to evolve day-by-day, and we stand with those impacted by these uncertain times. We value our employees, keeping them top of mind in our initial decision to remain open and will be fully compensated throughout the designated time frame of the closure," a news release said.

All concerts that were scheduled in March have been postponed. Tickets purchased will be honored for the re-scheduled dates, the casino said. Refunds would be available at the point of sale.

Guests currently staying at Talking Stick Resort will be given an extended check-out on Wednesday, the resort said. Those who booked stays beyond Wednesday will be helped with finding another place to stay.

The resort said staff would be reaching out to those who have already booked future stays at Talking Stick Resort's hotel to discuss refunds or rescheduling.


Fort McDowell Casino and the We-Ko-Pa Resort are the latest Phoenix-area casinos and hotels to temporarily close. The Fort McDowell Casino will close at noon on Wednesday, March 18 and will remain closed until April 2, when it anticipates reopening, a spokesperson confirmed to ABC15.

In a statement on the resort's website, We-Ko-Pa expected to open on April 2.

Employees will be paid and will receive benefits during the closure, the spokesperson said.


The Yavapai-Apache Nation announced Wednesday in a news release that the Cliff Castle Casino & Hotel in Camp Verde, Arizona would close at 6 p.m. and would remain closed "until further notice."


The Tohono O’odham Nation announced that it will close all four of its Arizona casinos, including the newly-opened Desert Diamond West Valley Casino in Glendale, at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday evening.


The Ak-Chin Indian Community Tribal Council announced Wednesday that the Harrah's Ak-Chin Hotel and Casino in Maricopa, Arizona would close at 4 a.m. on Thursday, March 19 and would remain closed through April 2.