Gaming Guide

Editorial StaffNovember 4, 2022
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Gaming Spectacular

Get in on the action with this jackpot guide to Valley casinos and gaming.

New in Casinos

These are not the slots-and-smoke roadside casinos of yesteryear. Find cutting-edge amenities and modern gaming options at the Valley’s elite palaces of chance.

Table Games

In April of 2021, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed the Tribal-State Gaming Compact, which expanded the suite of legal table games to include roulette, craps, mini-baccarat and other casino favorites previously prohibited in Arizona. Four months later, Gila River Resort and Casino’s Wild Horse Pass in Chandler (playatgila.com) became the first in the state to offer these Las Vegas-style games. Other prominent Valley casinos such as Talking Stick Resort and Casino in Scottsdale (talkingstickresort.com), Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale (ddcaz.com) and We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort in Fort McDowell (wekopacasinoresort.com) quickly followed suit.

Food & Drink

The victual situation has never been rosier than it is now at Arizona casinos. At We-Ko-Pa, guests can choose between the white-tablecloth swank of Ember Steakhouse or the all-you-can-eat indulgence of The Buffet, featuring Dragon Wok & Noodle, Las Tapas and more (wekopacasinoresort.com/dining). Not to outdone, Talking Offers New Orleans-themed seafoodery Ocean Trail to go with flagship steakhouse Orange Sky and four other dining options (talkingstickresort.com/dining); while Gila River now offers a proprietary craft beer, San Tan River King lager, at all three of its Valley casinos and myriad restaurants (playatgila.com/dining-and-nightlife).

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Entertainment, Wellness and Specials

The fun at Valley casinos doesn’t end with the last hand. At Desert Diamond, one of the newest Valley casinos, guests have access to nearby Westgate Entertainment District and Tanger Outlets – not to mention $4 cocktail specials at the casino itself, which is healthy for your pocketbook (ddcaz.com/west-valley/events-west-valley). Speaking of healthy, We-Ko-Pa boasts a spacious bingo hall that’s 100-percent smoke free, so you can fill your board without soiling your lungs; while Talking Stick offers The Spa at Talking Stick, a full-service, 14th-floor wellness palace where can get the Valley’s highest elevation sports massage, according to our unconfirmed research (talkingstickresort.com/spa). And did you know laughing is good for your health? Check out Gila River’s entertainment page (playatgila.com/entertainment) for regular comedy shows, including Native American All-Star Comedy Night (November 26).

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The Sportsbook Revolution

As part of the sweeping shift in Arizona gaming in 2021, Governor Doug Ducey signed into law HB2772, which paved the way for both retail and online sports betting in the state. Beat the spread with this mini-guide.

Find a Bookie

More than a dozen online entities offer bookmaking services to Arizona sports bettors, but if you prefer to bet the classic Vegas way – in an energy-charged casino sportsbook, with its myriad viewing and hospitality service, here are some options.  

• WKP Sportsbook: We-Ko-Pa’s in-house sports book celebrated its grand opening this fall with NFL star Lance Briggs hosting, and feature a monster 47-foot-wide TV screen for game-watching. wekopacasinoresort.com/casino/sportsbook 

• CAZ Sports Bar: Embedded inside Casino Arizona in Scottsdale, the sportsbook is a “fan’s paradise,” according to the casino, with three live betting windows, six self-serve betting kiosks and eight screens displaying betting lines. casinoarizona.com/casino/sportsbook 

• Desert Diamond West Valley: Like its sister DD casinos in Tucson and Sahuarita, the Glendale casino offers window and kiosk sports betting. It’s also adjacent to Winner’s Sports Bar with a variety of food options, so you can much while you bet. playdesertdiamond.com/en/sports#home 

• Bet MGM Sportsbook at Wild Horse Pass: Located on the second floor with dramatic views of the casino below, this sportsbook is the largest of the three Gila River Casino locations in Arizona, with kiosks in the casino’s Topgolf Swing Suite (the only such Topgolf set-up in any Arizona casino). Bonus: Gila River’s Vee Quiva casino in the West Valley has an outdoor bar attached. playatgila.com/casino-game/betmgm-sportsbooks

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Sports Betting Glossary

Know your basic sports betting strategies.

• Zig-Zag Theory: A betting strategy that advocates wagering on a team that just lost its previous game, as such teams are statistically likely (>50 percent) to rebound and win the following one.

• Chasing Steam: When a betting syndicate or experienced gambler (known as a “sharp”) lays a large bet, it sometimes causes a seismic shift in the betting line. Some bettors attempt to join the action before the shift peaks, i.e. “chasing” the hot bet.

• Hitting the “Middle”: The strategy of laying two opposing bets on the same event (e.g. the over/under score of a NFL) game and winning both, by taking advantage of shifting point spreads.

• Line shopping: The act of perusing different sportsbooks to compare point spreads and find the most advantageous games to bet on.

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