Arizona Tribes Expand Resort Options
The concern seems to be groundless, so far, as the areas Indian hotels operate on the same basis as other hotels and resorts in the region and charge comparable room taxes.
The tribe hopes to open its hotel my mid-2005 and is considering a Radisson brand and no cost estimates are available as yet. The tribe also plans to expand its We-Ko-Pa Golf Club by 18 holes to build a more complete resort atmosphere to attract visitors and revenue to the reservation.
Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort in Maricopa fills almost all of its 146 rooms with complimentary stays which acts as a extra amenity to pursue the casino business objective. Brian Bork, Ak-Chin’s marketing director states that only about 20% of the hotel guests are paying customers.
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian, Community which operates Casino Arizona, anticipates the construction of a hotel in the future, but because it is located near Scottsdale the area is already covered with resorts.
At most reservations room taxes go into the Tribal Government coffers with the taxes varying from tribe to tribe with five percent at Harrah’s Ak-Chin to 13.1 percent at the Apache Gold Casino Resort on the San Carlos Apache Reservation.
To show the impact Indian gaming has Arizona’s economy, it was reported on October 31st by the State Department of Gaming that Arizona tribes sent almost $12 million in gaming proceeds to the state treasury in the latest round of contributions with education due to receive nearly half the money.
This brings to $16 million the amount the tribes have contributed under the 2002 voter approved Proposition 202. They pay 1 to 8 percent of their winnings to the state based on a sliding scale.
In addition to paying the state $12 million, the tribes are required to give money to cities, towns, counties and economic-development causes of their choice with state tourism expecting to receive about $3 million over the fiscal year.
This story has been edited from the pages of The Arizona Republic.