The San Carlos Apache tribe of southern Arizona, owners of the Apache Gold casino, recently announced it will build the Apache Sky Casino on its reservation in the Copper Corridor, just outside Dudleyville on Highway 77. Gary Murrey, chief executive officer and general manager of the two casinos, said the million project will be completed by April 2015, including a gaming floor with 500 slot machines, 12 table games and six poker tables, plus a full-service restaurant and lounge. The facility will create 200 construction jobs and 350 permanent jobs and attract visitors from the Oro Valley, Tucson’s northwest suburbs, Pima, Pinal and Phoenix’ East Valley, Murrey said.
Murrey said a hotel will be built later depending on the casino’s performance. A theater, bowling alley or conference center also could be added. Apache Gold, about 50 miles south, in addition to a casino offers a 146-room hotel and convention center, three restaurants, a lounge, 18-hole golf course, 6,000-seat concert and rodeo pavilion, convenience mart and gas station and an RV park. “We want to really look at what the community needs rather than just focus on what we think or want,” Murrey said.
The 15,000-member tribe drew up a plan for the Apache Gold Casino in 2007, Murrey said, but dropped it when the economic recession began. However, after conducting a new feasibility study, tribal leaders and local officials decided to move forward. “I think it’s just the time, and the sooner that we can bring in long-term economic stability to the tribe the better,” Murrey said.