The all-new We-Ko-Pa Casino opened its doors last Wednesday, October 29th, ushering a new age of gaming and entertainment in the Northeast Valley and raising the bar for Valley gaming properties.It replaces the former Fort McDowell Casino which holds a special place in the fight for Indian gaming rights not only in the state but in the entire country.
Said Bernadine Burnette, president of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation:
“We’re proud that we were Arizona’s first casino and are now the state’s newest casino. Gaming has been a part of our tribal community for the past three decades and has allowed us to provide financial security for our members and employees. Our new casino allows us to take gaming to an entirely new level while keeping a Native American look and feel – with design elements of earth, water, fire and basket-weaving that are so important to our culture.”
The Former Baja Bingo Hall
The Fort McDowell Casino opened as the Baja Bingo Hall in 1984 as the first tribal gaming operation in Arizona. Owned and operated by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, the Baja Bingo has undergone a lot of changes and challenges.
Eight years after its launch, an attempt by Federal agents to seize its slots machines halted the Fort McDowell Casino operations. But the stoppage was only temporary as the Yavapai Nation peacefully challenged the state for its right to operate the casino on their reservation under the federal law. The Arizona casino reopened and grew its business with more casinos and gaming tables.
The All-New We-Ko-Pa Casino
The We-Ko-Pa Casino has 850 slot machines, 22 black jack tables, a five-table poker room, and a 400-seat smoke-free bino hall. In addition to a full complement of gaming amenities, the We-Ko-Pa Casino also has a wide variety of dining establishments, event venues, and other features that will ensure the enjoyment, comfort, and safety of casino patrons or guests who stay at the adjoining hotel.
The Ember restaurant is an upscale dining venue where steaks and seafood are prepared over wood-fired grills.The Market provides 24-hour quick serving food options while the Ahnala Mesquite Room at the adjoining hotel serves American-style comfort foods. The WKP bar serves pub fare and craft beer.
The Arizona casino is connected to a four-storey covered parking structure and the 246-room hotel that has been the recipient of the prestigious AAA Four Diamond award every year since its opening in 2006. The Arizona casino also shares the same name of the We-ko-pa golf Club across the street which hosts the award-winning Saguaro and Cholla golf courses.