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COACHELLA, CA-A tiny Indian tribe with only one adult member has signed a five-year development deal with a Las Vegas company to open a multimillion-dollar casino here on its 502-acre reservation.

The Augustine Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians, which nearly disappeared in the 1970s, is headed by Tribal Chairwoman Maryann Martin. At 36, she’s the tribe’s only grown-up.

The tribe includes Martin’s three school-age children and their four cousins. It is one of the smallest tribes recognized by the US government, but its federal recognition allows it to offer gaming on its Inland Empire reservation.

The tribe has signed a deal with Las Vegas-based Paragon Gaming that calls for Paragon to develop a 32,000-sf casino near the Salton Sea, on about 13 acres of the tribe’s 502-acre property. Diana Bennett, Paragon’s president, says the casino will open next year with a handful of gaming tables and 349 slot machines, but that the number of slots could eventually reach 700.

While the new casino will be an economic boon for the Cahuillas, it should also provide benefits to the local economy. The construction and opening of the facility will initially create more than 100 jobs, and the figure is expected to rise in lock-step with the casino’s future growth.

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