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Vice-President Martin Harvier and Gaming Board Chair Crystal Banuelos along with SRPMIC Council and gaming board members cut the ribbon and celebrate the opening of the new bingo hall at the Casino Arizona, McKellips location.

Casino Arizona Unveils New Bingo Hall

By Richie Corrales
Au-Authm Action News

For many years, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Tribal Council and the Casino Arizona board tossed around the idea of bringing back bingo to Casino Arizona. Finally, in 2011, the plan came to fruition when construction started on a 26,000-square-foot expansion on the west side of the McKellips facility. The new space will serve both as a bingo hall and as an additional multi-use venue for conferences and other large events.

Casino Arizona held a ribbon-cutting on November 8, at the entrance to the bingo hall leading from the Casino Arizona slots floor. Immediately after, the doors opened to the public and bingo started. The casino is celebrating the grand opening with 30 days of cash prize giveaways, from November 8 to December 7.

The SRPMIC Tribal Council, along with Casino Arizona CEO Dennis Leon, Casino Arizona executives and gaming board members, took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

SRPMIC Vice-President Martin Harvier welcomed everyone to the hall and gave thanks to all who worked hard to get it built. “It’s exciting to know that we have brought back bingo to the Community,” said Harvier before he proceeded with the ribbon-cutting.

“We wanted the bingo hall to be attractive and welcoming while still representing the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in our design,” said Gaming Board Chair Crystal Banuelos. “We were able to accomplish this with the help of the Interior Design Committee, which was able to drill down and make the final selections on the look of the bingo hall. I was in there last week, and it is amazing. I am so proud that we have all artwork that has been selected from local SRPMIC artists.”

The entrance to the bingo hall displays artwork created by Community-member artists.

Banuelos added that they wanted to use the bingo hall not only as a place to play bingo, but also potentially as a conference space and multi-use space when bingo is not in session. “We see [the hall] as another venue and opportunity for a multi-use space,” said Banuelos.

Immediately following the celebration, the bingo hall doors opened to an anxious public that was ready to play the game, many with their dabbers and good-luck charms in hand.

In the 1,000-seat bingo hall, games typically run in the late afternoon and evening. At other times, it can be used for other events.

“Bingo has many dedicated and loyal [players],” said Banuelos. “It gives Casino Arizona the opportunity to attract a different type of player other than those who typically play slots or card/table games, and we wanted to ensure we were able to provide a variety of games for our customers.”

Construction was handled by Kitchell Corporation.

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