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Resort Report: We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort

By David R. Holland

For 20 years We-Ko-Pa has been on the must-play lists of the Greater Phoenix area.  And it just keeps getting better.

Most often praised for its zero houses and pristine views, the Cholla and Saguaro 18-hole award-winners are among my favorites.

Four Peaks (We-Ko-Pa in Yavapai) rises 7,000 feet in elevation and frames many of your shots. You will also see the Verde River, McDowell Mountains, Red Mountain, Superstitions, and Matazal Mountains.

But today We-Ko-Pa has outstanding Stay and Play options with the newly renovated hotel and casino.

My stay at the resort included dinner at WKP Sports & Entertainment, the casino’s sports bar-themed restaurant. The food was outstanding and I was treated to a Q&A with Seth Joyner, NFL All-Pro linebacker.

Here’s more on the new improvements and awards

• We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort was named “Best Casino” for 2021 in Phoenix Magazine’s “Best of the Valley” Reader’s Choice section.

• Unified the casino and hotel, which were previously separately managed and operated enterprises, under one entity to build a cohesive brand, maximize efficiencies, and achieve economies of scale.

• Ember, the casino’s fine-dining steakhouse, achieved the illustrious Wine Spectator “Best of Award of Excellence” for 2021. Ember is one of only seven restaurants in the state to receive this award.

• Partnered with Betfred Sports and finalizing plans to build a Las Vegas-quality retail sportsbook to bring sport betting to Arizona residents.

• Signed tribal gaming compacts, along with the legislative changes required to enact them, after years of negotiations with sister tribes toward a modernized compact with the state of Arizona.

• Introduced two new table games: Roll To Win Craps — a semi-autonomous craps game that lets players shoot real dice across a 12-foot LED playing field screen; and Blaze Roulette — featuring an LED lightbox-lit gaming surface that displays eye-catching animations and game prompts.

• Unveiled new Dining Studio, featuring scratch-made food from around the world at Dragon Wok and Noodle with authentic Chinese specialty items and Las Tapas with traditional Mexican favorites.

• Added approximately 75 of the latest, cutting-edge slot machines in the newly named The Mint slot room.

• Released a user-friendly app that shows room rates, highlights promotions, and showcases upcoming entertainment events, plus allows users to book accommodations and reservations at Ember steakhouse, enroll in the Fortune Club, and learn more about meeting venues.

• Was named a finalist for AZRE Magazine’s annual Real Estate and Development Awards, as one of the state’s top projects, architects, contractors, developers and brokers in 2020.

• WKP Sports & Entertainment, the casino’s sports bar-themed restaurant, joined the Untappd app to introduce the Valley drinking community to its wide range of draft and local beers. We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort was the first casino in the state to offer this innovative way for beer enthusiasts to discover new beer styles while tracking and rating brews already tried.

“For more than 37 years our tribal nation has taken great pride in offering excellence in gaming and we’re thrilled to continue this legacy in our beautiful new facility,” said Bernadine Burnette, president of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. “Our future plans include launching a new sports book facility with Betfred Sports, as well as opening Amore — the newest addition to our Dining Studio that will feature traditional Italian fare.

About We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort

Owned and operated by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, the 166,341-square-foot We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort has state-of-the-art gaming, a variety of specialty fine and casual dining restaurants, and live entertainment. The attached AAA Four Diamond hotel offers 246 guestrooms and suites; 25,000 square feet of meeting space; spa treatments at the Amethyst Spa; and two resort-style outdoor pools.

The new casino resort’s proximity to the two courses at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club and numerous outdoor activities at Fort McDowell Adventures make it the ideal destination for a vacation, business function or special event, the release states.

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation is an 889-member Native American tribe that calls central Arizona’s upper Sonoran Desert home.

Located to the northeast of Phoenix within Maricopa County, the 40-square-mile reservation is a small part of the ancestral territory of the once nomadic Yavapai people, who hunted and gathered food in a vast area of Arizona’s desert lowlands and mountainous Mogollon Rim country.

Go to

Chill out this summer at the brand new We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort where you can try your luck with state-of-the-art gaming, bask in luxurious accommodations and lavish amenities, relax in the pool and spa, tee off at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, or take in a fun outdoor activity at Fort McDowell Adventures.

With two award-winning golf courses set in the thriving Sonoran Desert, We-Ko-Pa Golf Club delivers one of the best golf experiences in the Scottsdale and Phoenix metropolitan area.

Scott Miller designed the Cholla Course, while Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw teamed up to create Saguaro. In addition to golf, while you’re at the AAA Four Diamond property, officials there say resort guests visitors can enjoy:

• Movie nights;

• Friday night happy hours with a live band;

• DJ and live band on Saturdays;

• Lavish putting greens; and

• Horseshoes.