Gila River to Debut Exciting New Arizona Casino November 20

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008
Soon the ringing of slot machines will replace construction noise at the newest Arizona casino, Gila River's Lone Butte.

Soon the ringing of slot machines will replace construction noise at the newest Arizona casino, Gila River's Lone Butte.

When the clock strikes 3 pm on November 20, the newest Arizona casino will open its doors to the public at the Loop 202 and Kyrene Road near the Phoenix suburb of Chandler.   Gila River’s new Lone Butte Casino will offer gamers more than 120,000 square-feet of casino entertainment including 850 slot machines, live blackjack, casino bingo, and a host of poker games including Fortune Pai Gow Poker® Progressive, Let It Ride Three-Card Bonus® and Three-Card Poker®.

Slot machine aficionados will find both new casino slot games like eBay™ (see eBay™ photos here) as well as popular favorites such as Wheel of Fortune®, Star WarsTM, and Blazing 7’s.  Casino bingo players will be treated to a 750-seat state-of-the-art bingo hall with both matinee and evening sessions. 

And Gila River planners have made sure players won’t go hungry while visiting the new casino by offering six restaurants in the expansive $60 million facility.  Visitors can choose from Venona Chophouse, Café 24/7, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Express, Tuscan Olive, Quiznos™ plus a quick-serve coffee shop featuring Starbucks™ coffee.

Looking for some live entertainment to complement your gaming?  Then visit the new Cascades Lounge evenings Thursday to Sunday for a variety of entertaining acts.

The Gila River Indian Community operates three Phoenix-area casinos including Wild Horse Pass, Vee Quiva and Lone Butte.  (The current Lone Butte casino at 56th Street will be closed prior to the opening of the new casino.)

Look for more updates on the opening of Lone Butte as we draw closer to the big day!

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Casino Arizona Construction Update

Saturday, October 18th, 2008
Construction on the new resort hotel at Casino Arizona Indian Bend

Casino Arizona at Indian Bend - construction has progressed rapidly since this photo was taken in early September.

Casino Arizona is moving right along with construction of its new resort and spa at Indian Bend and the Loop 101.  Members of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community are betting that this new 15-story resort featuring almost 500 rooms and a huge, 13,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art spa along with the location’s already-operating Talking Stick Golf Club will appeal to Scottsdale visitors looking for an activity and amenity-packed resort experience.

The centerpiece of the new resort near will be the casino with its 240,000 square-foot gaming floor featuring 800 slot machines, 50 poker tables, a Vegas-style off-track betting lounge, and a high-limit slots area.  When it comes time to dine or just relax with a cocktail, guests will be able to choose from among eight restaurants and 10 lounges.  Also, a new 750-seat showroom will bring live entertainment year-round to the venue. 

In addition to Scottsdale/Phoenix locals and vacationers, the new Casino Arizona Resort & Spa will also be courting the business and convention community by offering over 50,000 square-feet of meeting and expo space. 

Slated to open in December 2009, the new hotel will be privately operated by the community.  A “topping-off” ceremony was held earlier this week when members and invited guests gathered to celebrate the placement of the final beam onto the structure.  (The photo above was taken in late-summer.)

In addition to the Indian Bend location, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community also operates Casino Arizona at McKellips Road and the Loop 101 and hosts more than 7 million visits yearly at its two properties.

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Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Asks “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
Win big bucks in the new Harrah's Ak-Chin promotion.

Win $1,000,000 at Harrah's Ak-Chin in Arizona.

Someone will be a new millionaire on December 28th when Harrah’s Ak-Chin casino in Maricopa, Arizona gives away the guaranteed $1,000,000 grand prize in their new “Win Your Million Dollars” promotion. 

Beginning October 31 (or October 29 for upper-level Total Rewards Club members), players can earn entries into weekly drawings with those winners then eligible for the big event drawing in late December.  The weekly cash drawings will be held  every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm. 

There’s lots of cash being given away, lots of opportunities to earn bonus entries and lots more “fine print” so for details be sure to get all the information at the promotions center at the casino.

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Look Down! Casino Carpets Have Their Own Online “Hall of Fame”

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Casino carpeting features intricate designs, wild colors.

It’s nice to know I am not the only person fascinated with the over-the-top colorful designs on casino carpets.  I have to confess that while walking through a casino or down a hotel hallway, I have been known to run into people – as well as inanimate objects – because I am so focused on what’s under my feet.  The exhuberant colors and the intricate patterns never cease to entertain me.

Well, David G. Schwartz, who writes extensively about Las Vegas, gambling, and history has several photo pages on his website, The Die is Cast, devoted to current and defunct carpets at casinos throughout the U.S.  Who knew?  His gallery organizes the carpet photos mostly by location but if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’ll find his “Hall of Fame” page which features extinct carpets as well as extinct casinos…think Stardust and the Aladdin among others.

Schwartz is the Director of the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV and has a Ph.D. in United States history from UCLA.  Check out his website for lots of fascinating information.  After spending some time on his website, I definitely plan on purchasing his book, Roll the Bones, A History of Gambling.

Oh, and the carpet pictured above?  You can find it in all it’s dashing purple glory – at Cliff Castle Casino in Camp Verde, Arizona!

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Fort McDowell Fall Events – Costumes & Country Music

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Look for scary costumes at Fort McDowell Casino's Halloween bash.

Looking for a fun Halloween party in the Phoenix area?  How about one where you can win cash for your most creative costume?  Grown-up revelers can head to Fort McDowell Casino on October 30th for their annual “Costume Bash” at the casino’s Lucky 7 Saloon.  Although we haven’t – as yet! – dressed up, P.B. and I have been to this event a couple of times and it really is a lot of fun.  You’ll see lots of elaborate costumes – both scary and funny – and you can dance the night away to live music starting at 9 PM.  Registration for the costume competition starts at 6 with judging from 9 to 11 PM and prize-winners announced at 11:30 PM.  Keep the evening’s celebration going by booking a night at the adjoining Radisson Fort McDowell – it looks like rooms are still available at this time.


Win a trip to the CMA's from Fort McDowell & KMLE Country!

Win a trip to the 2008 CMA's in Nashville.

Also this month, The Fort kicks off its “KMLE Country 108 CMA Trip Giveaway” promotion.  The Grand Prize is a 3 day/2 night trip for two to the 42nd Annual Country Music Awards in Nashville.  The trip includes airfare, accommodations, tickets to the event and $200 cash.  Beginning October 20th, players club members can swipe their card for entries into the drawing which will be held on November 2nd at 7 PM.

Be sure to visit The Fort’s website for details on all upcoming events.

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Travel Arizona – “Cliffs” Part 2 – Ridin’ the Verde Canyon Railroad

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Mountains surround the Verde Canyon Railroad depot in Clarkdale, Arizona.

The Verde Canyon Railroad Trip

I promise you that I am going to wax poetically while describing this trip – there is just no other way to do it justice.  If you live in Arizona and haven’t taken this trip – stop right now, scroll down to the link and make reservations – it is that good.

Here’s a look at our trip.  We chose the Starlight Tour which leaves at 5:30 PM on select Fridays and Saturdays from May through September.  If you are booking your trip for other months, be aware that the train runs year ‘round with a variety of special seasonal trips and varying times so don’t worry – there will be a great trip available for you, too. 

We arrived at the depot in Clarkdale, a small town located just a short drive from Cottonwood, and spent some time in their interesting gift shop before boarding the train.  (There is also a snack bar at the depot and you can eat there or take something onboard for later.)  Our tickets were for First Class but you can also choose Coach Class with Adult, Child and Senior tickets available.  Couples and others looking for a little quiet time should definitely consider the First Class option.

Once we boarded and settled into our comfy sofa-style seating, we were introduced to the amenities of the First Class car including a cash bar and the complimentary snacks which, for our trip, included hot wings, mini-sandwiches, a cheese and cracker selection plus my favorite, a fresh mozzarella and tomato salad.  After what the train staff calls their traditional “toast to a good ride” – your choice of champagne or sparkling apple juice – we were off. 

The setting sun gives a molten glow to the mountaintops.

Red cliffs and molten gold mountaintops on the Verde Canyon route.

The train travels along the upper Verde River, through red rock canyons and past soaring cliffs colored orange and gold, sage and slate with bits of lavendar and rose thrown in for good measure.  Along the way, your bartenders and hosts will provide a running travelogue of sites set against a backdrop of original music.  You can stay in the enclosed car or for the best experience, enjoy your ride outside on the open-air viewing car.  During your journey, you’ll see ancient cliff-dwellings, bald eagle nests, and some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere.   If you’re lucky, you may spot an eagle gliding through the canyon or an elk stopping by the river for a cool drink.   There’s so much more but I want you to be surprised when you see it first-hand.

My favorite part of our journey was the nighttime ride back to depot when the only lights came from the seemingly millions of stars above and from the headlamps of the train reflecting off the canyon walls.  This is a ride I would love to take again – either a daytime trip in the Spring when the wildflowers are in bloom or perhaps one of their wine-tasting journeys. 

For online reservations visit their website here – Verde Canyon Railroad

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Travel Arizona – “Cliffs,” Canyons and Cottonwood Eats

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Greetings from Cliff Castle

Arizona offers lots of great travel options for players so when you can combine a casino trip with a train ride, spectacular scenery, a wealth of good food and a visit to a national monument, what’s not to like? Backstory – Last March, P.B. and I attended the Phoenix Suns’ “Suns and Stars Charity Event” at the Arizona Biltmore and bid on and won a travel package featuring two nights at the Best Western – Cottonwood and tickets for four people on the Verde Canyon Railroad. Using those two items, we put together a really fun trip with lots of indoor and outdoor activities – a trip that we highly recommend you consider for a quick getaway. (more…)

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“The Fort” Offers an AZ Getaway at a Great Rate

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Entrance courtyard at the Radisson Fort McDowell.

Whether you are planning a visit to Phoenix or you live right here in the Valley, if you haven’t visited Fort McDowell Casino lately, now is the time to take advantage of a special player’s club discount and enjoy a fall stay at a great rate at the luxurious Radisson Fort McDowell Resort.  Spend the day enjoying the resort’s many amenities -spa, swimming pools, gourmet restaurant, golf at the nearby We-Ko-Pa Golf Club – then play the night away at the casino. (more…)

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