WORLD’S LARGEST CASINO COMPANY REACHES TENTATIVE DEAL WITH SOCAL INDIAN TRIBE

LOS ANGELES – The world’s largest casino company has announced that a tentative agreement has been reached to develop and manage its first casino in California on Indian land.

Park Place Entertainment Corp. will open a $250 million Caesars resort after completing its agreement with the Pauma-Yuima Band of Mission Indians. The deal announced Thursday calls for a 500-room hotel and casino complex near Temecula, where the tribe now operates a small gambling operation.

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., Station Casinos Inc. and Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. previously entered the California market to manage casinos for Indian tribes in exchange for a share of the profits.

The Park Place deal with the Pauma-Yuima Band still needs approval by the National Indian Gaming Commission and other regulators. Park Place officials said the casino, which would have more than 100,000 square feet of gaming space, could open as early as 2005.

“We’re pleased and honored that the Pauma Tribe has chosen to partner with Park Place to develop a premier destination resort in Southern California,” said Wallace R. Barr, Park Place’s president and chief executive officer in a statement.

“The sovereign tribal lands on which Caesars Pauma would be built are easily accessible for millions of people living in greater Los Angeles and greater San Diego. The scenic setting of the Pauma tribal lands is perfect for a new Caesars resort,” he added.

More than a dozen casinos have been built in California on Indian land since voters approved Proposition 1A in 2000, which legalized slot machines, blackjack tables and other Las Vegas-style games on Indian land.

Analysts have said that although Indian tribes own the properties, casino operators get a lucrative percentage of the profits as managers. Most operators receive between 25 percent to 40 percent of the revenue generated each year by the casino.