The Wild Horse Pass is one of 8 casinos in Phoenix
By Steve Beauregard
There are eight casinos in the Phoenix area, including two in Scottsdale.
With the exception of one in Glendale, all have the regular slot machines and video poker games you’re used to, along with some table games.
While you won’t get served free alcohol like you would in Las Vegas, nor will you find the live versions of craps and roulette, you will be able to experience fine restaurants, entertainment options, and other amenities you’d find at resorts along the Strip.
Here’s a rundown of the eight casinos in the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas:
Casino Arizona (Black pin on map)
One of two casinos located in Scottsdale, Casino Arizona is located 14 miles east of downtown Phoenix and is the closest casino.
It’s owned by the same tribe that owns it’s larger, fancier brother resort: Talking Stick a few miles north.
Located just off of Highway 101, or Loop 101, Casino Arizona has over 900 slot machines, and over 50 table games, including blackjack of course, but also Let It Ride, 3 Card Poker, Pai Gow Poker and War.
(Each pin represents one of the 8 Phoenix-area casinos)
There aren’t table craps and roulette, however there are the electronic roulette games and the “Shoot to Win” electronic craps game.
Casino Arizona has a popular bingo hall and offers Keno as well.
The resort has five restaurants ranging from a buffet to a steakhouse to your standard casino coffee-shop type of restaurant.
524 North 92nd Street
Scottsdale, AZ. 85256
Phone: (480) 850-7777
Desert Diamond Casino West Valley (Purple pin)
This is the newest casino in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area and the only one in Glendale, on the western part of Phoenix. It’s 19 miles north and west of downtown Phoenix, and would take you about a half hour to drive there.
The Desert Diamond Casino West Valley opened on December 20, 2015 with a food court, 1,089 slot machines and lots of controversy. As of this writing, it’s in a legal battle to obtain the right to have full gaming. And alcohol.
Currently it only offers the cheesy bingo style class II gaming machines, rather than real slot machines found at all of the other casinos in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The casino does not serve alcohol nor does it have any table games.
There are plans to build a full scale resort, with hotel and regular gaming, but only when and if the legal process results in the Desert Diamond’s tribal ownership’s favor. Until then, it’s not really on anyone’s recommend casinos list.
Fort McDowell Casino (Grey pin)
The furthest north of any of the Phoenix and Scottsdale area casinos, Fort McDowell Casino is 31 miles northeast of Phoenix. It’s roughly a 30 minute, to one hour drive, depending on traffic.
Situated seemingly in the middle of nowhere, the 150,000 square foot complex features 850 slot machines and video poker games, and lots of the normal table games, including blackjack, along with 3 card poker, and Progressive Pai Gow.
The large poker room has 27 tables. They run 15 different poker tournaments each week and have the fun high hand promotions and aces cracked bonuses that amateurs like me enjoy.
The large bingo room has seating for 1,275 players.
Five restaurants dot the property, including a buffet, a “New York” deli, and Asian noodles restaurant.
The 246 We-ko-pa Resort attached to the Fort McDowell casino has a spa, beautiful pool area, and a gorgeous18 hole golf course.
10424 N. Fort McDowell Road
Fort McDowell, AZ. 85264
Phone: (480) 837-1424
Poker room (480) 789-4284
Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino (Pink pin)
This is one of Arizona’s older casinos, having opened in 1994.
It gets its name from the Ak-Chin Indian tribe, who owns the casino resort. The tribe has partnered with Caesars Entertainment in running it, meaning you can use your Total Rewards at Harrah’s Ak-Chin casino.
This is the southernmost of all the Phoenix casinos, being 37 miles south of Phoenix, in Maricopa. The drive can range from 40 minutes to an hour and 40 minutes, depending on traffic.
This is a nice-looking resort that is about to get even better.
As of this writing, the casino is undergoing a $100 million dollar expansion. A new construction project is underway to add 200 more hotel rooms to the 300 already existing. In addition, the project will include more casino and restaurant space and a 20,000 square foot ballroom.
Before the expansion, Harrah’s had 40,000 square feet of casino space, filled with 1,089 slot machines, table games, a poker room, bingo hall and keno parlor. You can find a $5 black jack table here often.
The resort’s five restaurants include everything from a Dunkin Donuts to expensive steakhouse. The pool area’s grounds are beautifully landscaped. There’s even a swim-up bar.
Harrah’s AK-Chin Casino has free daily shuttle service to and from various points around the area. The current schedule can be found here:
Another attractive feature is the AK-Chin Multi-tainment Center across the street from the casino/hotel. If you get tired of losing in the casino, you can skip on over here to check out the bowling alley, movie theater and restaurants.
15406 N Maricopa Rd
Maricopa, AZ 85139
Phone: (480) 802-5000
Lone Butte Casino(Green pin)
Not the largest casino, Lone Butte is situated 18 miles south of Phoenix, about a 25 to 40 minute drive into the outlying town of Chandler, Arizona. It opened in November of 2008.
Lone Butte is 18 miles south of Phoenix
In addition to the 794 slots, there are 23 table games, with limits up to $1,200. As with other casinos in the region, you won’t be able to throw dice, but they do have the electronic craps, along with electronic roulette.
There is a 800 seat bingo parlor.
Your eating options at the Lone Butte include a 24 hour café, a food court (with a Panda Express), and their Cities Bar & Grille.
1077 S. Kyrene Road
Chandler, Arizona 85226
Talking Stick Resort (Blue pin)
The most “Vegas-y” of all of the casinos near Phoenix, Scottsdale’s Talking Stick is 20 miles away from downtown Phoenix, or roughly a 25 to 45 minute drive.
Talking Stick is one of 8 casinos in Phoenix
It’s located in a beautiful area just east of Salt River Fields, which is the large baseball field complex that acts as the spring training home to both the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks.
The biggest and arguably nicest casino in Phoenix area, the casino space is reported to be just shy of 100,000 square feet. This puts it on par with some of the famous casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.
The hotel has been ranked as a AAA Four Diamond Resort. The 15 story hotel has 496 rooms, six restaurants, four lounges. Behind the resorts sits the 36 hole Talking Stick Golf Club.
On the 14th floor of the resort, the well-regarded Spa at Talking Stick has over 13,000 square feet of relaxation (as long as you don’t look at the bill).
Down below in the casino are more than 800 slot machines and video poker games and 50 table games (not including the poker room).
Speaking of which…
Talking Stick’s poker room, (called the “Arena Poker Room”) is the by far the largest in Phoenix, with 49 tables. It plays host to a number of tournaments, big and small, including the Arizona State Poker Championship.
The 25,000 square foot Salt River Ballroom and 10,000 square foot concert venue hosts concerts and performances by big-name acts, from Terry Fator to Alice in Chains to Jay Leno.
9800 Talking Stick Way
Scottsdale, AZ 85256
Phone: (480) 850-7777
Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino (Brown pin)
Nicknamed the “VQ”, this new version of the Vee Quiva opened in July of 2013. The resort is 15 miles southeast of Phoenix, or roughly a drive from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. It’s not in the best area of the valley.
Thirty table games can be found inside here, along with 950 slots, 36 table games (including “Lunar Poker” which I have yet to play), a 16 table poker room, and spacious 550-seat bingo hall.
The Vee Quiva is 15 miles southeast of Phoenix
The VQ has a 90 room hotel. While small, it has received the AAA Four Diamond Award.
Restaurants include Ditka’s Restaurant, (after the legendary Bear’s coach of course), and a 24 hour coffee shop.
Vee Quiva’s food court consists of a Panda Express, Dunkin Donuts, a Mexican food stand called Los Reyes De La Torta, and a Fatburger.
As with some other Phoenix casinos, the Vee Quiva has a free shuttle that picks up passengers from several different stops throughout the Phoenix area.
15091 South Komatke Lane
Laveen, AZ. 85339
Phone: (800) 946-4452
Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino (Yellow Pin)
Conveniently located just off Interstate 10, the Wild Horse is 18 miles south of Phoenix, or roughly a 30 minute drive.
The resort opened in October of 2009. It gets great reviews and competes with Talking Stick Resort as one of the largest casinos in Arizona, although it is not as luxurious.
Wild Horse’s website says they have 100,000 square feet of casino space. The AAA 4 Diamond hotel has 262 rooms.
There are 950 slot machines, and 75 table games, (including the poker room), and a 1,400 seat concert arena.
Dining options include a Starbucks, Shula’s American Steak House, a 24 hour café, the popular Ling & Louies, and food court.
One other note, this list only includes casinos in and around the Phoenix area and does not include the four casinos in Tucson (116 miles south), nor outlying casinos like the Apache Gold Casino, which is 96 miles away (close to a 2 hour drive), east of Phoenix.