Casino Del Sol (pictured) is expanding and adding a 150-room hotel, expanded meeting space, and new RV sites. Casino of the Sun, meanwhile, is adding a new event center and announced the addition of Vegas-style blackjack.

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe plans to build a 150-room hotel, a recreational-vehicle park and enlarged convention space at its Casino del Sol Resort, Spa and Conference Center.

The $130 million casino resort, which opened in 2011, is at 5655 W. Valencia Road. It already has a hotel with 215 rooms.

“We have been really fortunate within the last few years at Casino del Sol with our occupancy rates in the upper 90 percent every week,” said Kimberly Van Amburg, the resort’s chief executive officer.

“When we have big events, such as concerts, galas, weddings and conventions, we have to turn people away from the hotel,” said Van Amburg. She said depending on the event, such as the Toby Keith concert last month, about 200 people had to be turned away from the hotel.

She said Mexican artists such as Alejandra Guzman and Gloria Trevi recently attracted concertgoers from Sonora and guests filled up the resort.

The new hotel will help with overflow. It is envisioned to be a family-friendly hotel with a pool area, including a possible water slide. “There is a demand for that kind of experience and it will give us an opportunity to offer different price levels,” said Van Amburg.

She said in many instances families may decide to stay at the new hotel rather than at the resort. The resort prices range from $99 a night in the summer up to $300 at other times of the year. Possible room rates for the new hotel were not yet known.

An additional 150 employees are expected to be hired, and existing part-time employees will go to full time once the hotel is completed. Several hundred workers are expected to be hired to build the hotel, Van Amburg said.

The new hotel may be built on the northwest side of the property, south of Valencia Road. “We have asked the architect to recommend a location close to Casino del Sol that provides the best layout for the hotel. I believe it will be free-standing with a walkway,” the resort CEO said.

The hotel design “may look a bit different but it will be complementary to the resort,” Van Amburg said. The architect for the project is the Cuningham Group in Las Vegas.

She said an architect will give the tribe options of where the RV park will be built. It will have 90 spaces with connections to power and sewer. She said it will have landscaping, picnic and cookout facilities.

The tribe also plans to build an 11,000-square-foot event center next to its other Tucson gaming enterprise, Casino of the Sun at 7406 S. Camino de Oeste, said Van Amburg. The center will provide space for meetings, events and entertainment.

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Casino of the Sun also recently added blackjack and offers players game limits as low as $3.

Construction on the new projects is expected to begin in late summer or early fall of 2018.

Tribal Chairman Robert Valencia said the “tribe is honored to have the opportunity to build new accommodations and meeting spaces for guests who visit our properties.”

“These additions will create more jobs and will positively impact our tribe, its members and Southern Arizona,” said Valencia.

The project cost is being withheld because of the bidding process among contractors at this time, Van Amburg said. It is expected to be released in December.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at or 573-4104.


Carmen started at the Star in 1981 and covers the aging population. She wrote “Mama’s Santos: An Arizona Life”, a book about the Mexican and Mexican-American experience in the Southwest through stories about her family. It won 11 awards.