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SAN DIEGO-A $125 million Las Vegas-style casino and resort near Valley Center operated by Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. is scheduled to open Thursday.

The Rincon San Luiseno Band of Mission Indians broke ground on the 65-acre project near Valley Center first broke ground in July 2001. The tribe is moving from temporary quarters to the permanent 200-room luxury resort.

The 45,000-sf casino with six restaurants is Harrah’s first branded casino in California, according to Tom Dingman, general manager of Harrah’s Rincon Casino and Resort. “Our aim was to raise the bar for the area’s gaming industry,” Dingman says.

The tribe will own the resort and Harrah’s Entertainment will manage it. Tribal and Harrah’s officials estimate the resort is expected to create 1,100 jobs and generate $31 million in annual payroll.

The Harrah’s Rincon Resort & Casino grand opening will include showgirls, rock bands and Elvis sky divers.

Indian casinos have had Vegas-style slot machines and blackjack since 2000, but the Harrah’s opening signals Nevada’s official entry into California’s rapidly growing gambling market.

Harrah’s operates 25 other casinos nationwide, including three on Indian reservations in Arizona, Kansas and North Carolina. The Las Vegas-based giant reported earnings of $3.7 billion last year.

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