Most people don’t think of Arizona when they think of gambling. Arizona is one of the more prohibitive states in the country when it comes to gambling. Arizona law generally bans all gambling, with exceptions for things like the lottery, horse racing, and reservation casinos. All of Arizona’s 23 casinos are operated by tribal organizations.
Social gambling between friends is legal, but organized gambling where a casino takes a cut of the money is not. Horse racetracks allows visitors to bet on races, which is the only type of sports gambling currently legal in Arizona. With this in mind here are 7 casinos in Arizona that make great destinations for gambling and entertainment.
1 – Casino Arizona
Casino Arizona is a 20 acres resort located on the Salt-River Pima Maricopa Indian Reservation in Scottsdale, Arizona. This 100,000 square foot casino opened in 1998 as a temporary structure. It replaced this structure in September 2000 with a permanent building. Casino Arizona opened a second location which was later sold and became the Talking Stick Resort.
The casino has 5 dining options. Eagles Buffet at Casino Arizona serves international cuisine buffet-style. Cholla Steakhouse & Lounge is fine dining regional cuisine and recipient of TripAdvisor’s prestigious “Certificate of Excellence” two years in a row. Visit CAZ Sports Bar to enjoy a 48-ounce burger at their rustic whiskey-barrel bar. Casual dining options include The Willows Restaurant and the diner-style Salt River Café.
The Showroom at Casino Arizona in Scottsdale is a 250-seat cabaret-style music and entertainment venue. Catch your favorite tribute band or make it over to the sport’s bar for trivia contests with up to a $1000 prizes.
The casino has over 900 slot machines. There are over 50 tables of blackjack, 3 Card Poker, Let It Ride, Pai Gow Poker and Casino War. Join one of the weekly blackjack tournaments or play High Card Stud with a progressive that can reach over $800,000. Player Rewards Club perks transfer to both Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort.
Casino Arizona touts itself as the premier bingo location in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area. The property houses a 1,000 seat bingo hall with keno and video poker available on handheld devices.
2 – Casino del Sol & Casino of the Sun
The Pascua Yaqui Tribe is a federally recognized tribe of Yaqui Native Americans in southern Arizona. The tribe operates the Casino of the Sun and Casino del Sol. Casino of the Sun opened in 1982 as the Bingo Club and Casino del Sol opened as a resort destination in 2011.
Casino del Sol has 8 restaurants including multiple Forbes Four-Star and Wine Spectator winner PY Steakhouse. Other restaurants at Casino del Sol are the Festa International Buffet, Tequila Factory, Ume Asian fusion, Moby’s beach-style diner, Abuelitas classic Mexican food, and StreetScape Pizza & Deli. Top yourself off with pastries and gelato from SweetScape Desserts. If your gaming at Casino of the Sun take a break from the games and refresh yourself at Sunflower Café.
Attend a concert at the AVA Amphitheater with a 1,700 seat ring stage and ascending grand lawn that can accommodate over 2,700 more attendees. Casino Del Sol also has an event center with seating up to 2,000.
If golf’s your game visit Sewailo Golf Club. The course offers a Sonoran Desert landscape with picturesque lakes and streams. The course boasts over 7,400 yards of championship tees and five different tee boxes on each hole. The club is home to the University of Arizona Men’s & Women’s golf teams.
Casino del Sol has over 1,300 state-of-the-art slot and video poker machines. Table games include Pai Gow, 3 Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’Em. Try the blackjack side bet games and variations such as Spanish 21 and Free Bet. Casino del Sol’s bingo hall seats up to 600 players.
Casino of the Sun offers more than 300 slot machines, including electronic blackjack, and $3 Blackjack tables.
3 – Desert Diamond Casinos
The Tohono Oʼodham Nation owns and operates the Desert Diamond Casino line. The Tohono Oʼodham reservation and properties in the second largest Native American landholding in the United States. Like most Native American casinos the revenue and jobs created by the locations are a source of job creation and support for the tribe.
The 3 locations include Tucson, Sahuarita, and West Valley. Tuscon is the largest of the two open locations. West Valley is a 75,000 square foot $400 million complex expected to open in late 2019.
Restaurants at Desert Diamonds Tuscon include the Ko:Sin Ki: Buffet, the Diamond Café, and Diamond Grill & Classico Pizza. Visit Monsoon Nightclub for live Latin music and DJs. If you’re at the Sahuarita location you’ll find Agave Restaurant, offering American-Mexican cuisine.
Desert Diamond Tuscan features slots with progressive games and monthly jackpots. Table games include poker variations, blackjack variations, and Pai Gow Poker. The casino also houses a 300 seat bingo hall with keno.
The Sahuarita location has over 600 machines with progressive jackpots. Blackjack tables offer Spanish 21 variation. Play your lucky keno numbers and watch the payouts and jackpots roll in.
4 – Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino
Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino is located in Maricopa, 39 miles south of Phoenix, Arizona. It is owned by the Ak-Chin Indian Community and operated by Caesars Entertainment Corporation. It opened in December 1994 and has the only World Series of Poker room in Arizona.
A 2018 addition saw the building of a 12-story tower and the addition of 40,000 square feet. The resort now has over 500 luxurious guestrooms starting at $70.
Harrah’s Ak-Chin has 4 restaurants. The Copper Cactus Grill is casual dining offering Phoenix favorites. The Buffet at Harrah’s Ak-Chin has numerous interactive stations and a changing menu. Oak & Fork offers a high-quality wine selection and small plate menu with optional outdoor seating. Chop, Block & Brew is fine dining at its best with steaks, seafood, and hand-crafted cocktails.
The casino has 1,135 slots and video poker machines in denominations ranging from pennies to high-limit $25 machines with progressives. Tables games include blackjack, 3 Card Poker, Pai Gow Poker, Mississippi Stud poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold’Em. The casino also offers weekly poker tournaments and a $100,000 keno jackpot.
Remember to take your Caesars Rewards program points with you. Casino perks will transfers to other Caesar properties.
5 – Paradise Casino
The Paradise Casino is located in Yuma, Arizona. The property is owned by the Quechan Indian Tribe (or Yuma), who live on the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation. The reservation spans two states and rests on the lower Colorado River just north of the Mexican border. Yuma County and Yuma, Arizona both receive their name from the tribe.
The Paradise has 2 restaurants and 1 bar. The Cove features family-style cooking with American favorites at a great value. The Reef has a smaller menu containing some of The Cove’s most popular dishes. Visit Sharky’s Lounge or the bingo hall for live entertainment, DJs, or to catch the latest game.
The casino has over 500 new and classic real money slots. The bingo hall buy-ins are as low as $5 and as high as $70. Paradise casino has no table games; this means no poker, no blackjack, roulette, or craps.
6- Talking Stick Resort
The Talking Stick Resort is a luxury hotel and casino located on the Salt-River Pima Maricopa Indian Reservation. The 15-story resort near Scottsdale, Arizona is owned and operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Opened in April of 2010, the 55.6 acres property has 496 guest rooms, 15 luxury suites, and 30 executive king suites.
The Cultural Center in the hotel lobby features Native American artwork and photography reflecting the Pima and Maricopa Indian traditions.
Talking Stick Golf Club has 36 holes of championship golf designed by architects Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. The O’odham golf course features links designed with grasslands and unique bunkering, while the Piipaash course offers a more traditional layout with tree-lined fairways and water features.
Salt River Fields at Talking Sticks is the Spring training facility of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. Catch a game before the season begins. Topgolf at Riverwalk offers different types of points-scoring golf games that you can enjoy from a private bay. Enjoy the 13-acre Octane Raceway with 45+ MPH kart racing; featuring an indoor/outdoor 1/3 mile track.
OdySea Aquarium and Butterfly Wonderland is an aquarium, butterfly conservatory, and indoor rainforest. If that’s too relaxing try iFLY indoor sky diving or Velocity VR, an immersive virtual reality experience. If you have a dinosaur lover in the group visit Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs and walk among 50 life-sized, animatronic dinosaurs.
The casino has 850 slot machines. Talking Stick Resort has tables of 3-Card Poker, blackjack, Pai Gow Poker, Let it Ride or Casino War. In the Arena Poker Room, you’ll find 49 poker tables of Texas Hold ’em, 7-Card Stud, and Omaha. Talking Stick hosts the annual Arizona State Poker Championship and Arizona State Ladies Poker Championship.
7 – Gila River Hotels & Casinos
The 3 properties of the Gila River Casinos are owned and operated by the Gila River Indian Community; an alliance of two tribes, the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and the Pee Posh (Maricopa). The Vee Quiva Casino is located in Laveen Village, Arizona. Wild Horse Pass and Lone Butte Casino are both in Chandler, Arizona not far from each other.
The entertainment complex in Chandler is approximately 15 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and is situated in the Gila River Indian Community. Along with two casinos the complex houses the Phoenix Premium Outlet shops; over 90 stores, including Polo Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade New York, Coach, and Michael Kors.
For fine dining at Wild Horse Pass visit Shula’s Steakhouse for great steak and seafood. George Lopez’s Chingon Kitchen at the Vee Quiva Casino has great tortas, tacos, and a variety of aguas frescas.
You’ll find 2,900 of the latest slot games across all three locations with each casino offering a $25,000 progressive giveaway. If slots are your thing visit the Wild Horse Pass with over 1000 machines. Between the properties, you’ll find 80 table games including real money blackjack, Pai Gow Poker, 3 Card Poker, Spanish 21, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. Jackpots are progressive and winning hands can pay out over $100,000.
Arizona isn’t just deserts and lizards. The dry climate in apparently good for gambling. You won’t find any cardrooms, riverboats, or sports betting. What you will find are Vegas-style resorts and great deals.
Take a gander at the entertainment options you’ll find at some of the casinos on the list and you’ll be surprised to find acts you might see elsewhere. Drink lots of water, you’ll need to stay hydrated to keep your brain sharp and the games coming.