Gaming enthusiasts get ready. The Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort plans to open its doors as early as this May.
Derrick Watchman, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, calls Twin Arrows their flagship property. According to Watchman, Twin Arrows will be more than just a casino, but also a hotel and medium-sized resort on the southwestern corner of the Navajo Nation.
Twin Arrows construction crews broke ground in September of 2011. Watchman estimates the casino's grand opening will take place the third week of May. To get there though, he said they need employees.
Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (NNGE) officials are currently looking to hire 800 employees to work at the Twin Arrows Casino and Resort.
"We think this is exciting for the Flagstaff area and the Navajo Nation," Watchman said. "Adding 800 new jobs to the area is what NNGE's mission is."
Twins Arrows is the fourth casino that the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise operates, and the first in Arizona. The other three are in New Mexico.
"It's a big project for us, initially we'll open with 90 rooms," said Watchman. "We're going to have several food venues, a steak house, a café, a 24-hour restaurant and a food court. We're going to operate slot machines, table games, card games, poker, blackjack, and we'll have a swimming pool. Our focus is to be a four-star location."
The $175 million casino and hotel complex, located 20 miles east of Flagstaff off Interstate 40, will also feature more than 1,100 slot machines, a sports bar, a spa, a conference center, an RV park and a golf course. When complete, the resort will have 200 guest rooms.
The NNGE put on a job fair Feb. 1-3 at the Highland Conference Center at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff. Applicants applied, were invited to interview, and were offered jobs all in the same day. If applicants were offered a position and passed a required drug test, they could then apply for and receive a gaming license (which is required to work for a casino) from the Navajo Nation Gaming Regulatory Office that same day as well.
According to Watchman, the Navajo Nation has a separate gaming and regulatory office, which licenses all NNGE employees and regulates and monitors all NNGE operations.
Before last weekend's job fair, Watchman said his hope was to make offers to 800 people for all available positions within multiple departments. Opportunities available included information technology (IT) positions, accounting positions, auditors, room attendants, maids, bus people, cooks, slot machine maintenance, facility maintenance, marketing, dealers and more.
"On the website people can still apply," Watchman said. "Links to the jobs will be on firerocknavajocasino.com while the Twin Arrows website is still being worked on. There they will find all the information to apply."
According to Arizona laws and gaming regulations, Twin Arrows will not be able to operate certain games like craps, roulette and sports betting.
Watchman said an official opening date will be available within the next 30 days.
"Everything's keyed on finishing the building, hiring the people, and getting the team members trained," said Watchman. "Once we have that shored up we'll have an exact opening date."
Watchman took over as CEO of the NNGE earlier this year. He was previously the chief financial officer (CFO) from 2009-2012.