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Arizona Tribe Plans Complete Casino Renovation

27 April 2005

ARIZONA – As reported by the Arizona Daily Star: "The Tohono O'odham Nation plans to tear down its original, bare-bones Desert Diamond Casino complex at 7350 S. Nogales Highway and replace it with an opulent casino, 200-room hotel and restaurants.

"Desert Diamond CEO Joe Calabrese estimated the project's total cost at $80 million. "The resolution to build this project just recently passed the Tribal Council," Calabrese said. "We hope to break ground this year. We're working on designs, but haven't chosen one.

"…The O'odham also own a more glamorous Desert Diamond Casino, just east of Interstate 19 at Pima Mine Road, that opened four years ago. That property has three restaurants with indulgences like champagne buffets and a 2,400-seat hall that hosts boxing matches and concerts. It cost $52 million to build.

"…The state, Tucson and Pima County also have a stake in the success of the new Desert Diamond project since Arizona gaming tribes must pay a percentage of their earnings for civic improvements.

"…When salaries, subcontractors and purchases are combined, the report said, Tohono O'odham casino operations inject over $75 million into Southern Arizona's economy each year…"

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