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SAN DIEGO – With the opening of a $180-million casino and resort still two years down the road, the San Pasqual Indian tribe is planning a temporary gambling house with blackjack tables, slots and a restaurant.

Tribal officials hope to begin construction of the $5-million interim casino next month in the Valley Center area and to open it by the spring. The tribe is preparing environmental and traffic studies for a public hearing set for Aug. 8.

About a half-dozen other San Diego County tribes are planning to open new casinos, some of which will be a part of full-scale resorts. And that doesn’t even count the major expansion planned for the casinos that are operated by the Viejas, Sycuan and Barona tribes.

The casino building boom was triggered by last year’s voter approval of a statewide proposition that permits Las Vegas-style gambling on California’s Indian reservations.

Las Vegas gaming interests, including Harrah’s Entertainment, are financing casino projects on the Pala and Rincon Indian reservations. But the Tunica-Biloxi tribe in Louisiana is backing the San Pasqual project, making it the only local casino development bankrolled by an out-of-state tribe.

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