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LAKE CHARLES, LA-On the heels of voter approval for the $350-million Sugarcane Bay development, Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. has completed its license-and-property swap with Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. Announced several months ago, the swap trades Pinnacle’s Mississippi assets for the Louisiana licenses and property belonging to Harrah’s.

The Las Vegas-based Pinnacle acquired two casino boats and related gaming licenses, one of which will be used for Sugarcane Bay, and the 263-room Harrah’s Lake Charles Hotel at 505 N. Lakeshore Dr. Pinnacle filed a proposal with the Louisiana State Gaming Commission to use the other license for a proposed project in Baton Rouge.

On its side of the deal, Harrah’s got the 378-room Casino Magic Biloxi at 195 Beach Blvd. and an extra $25 million from Pinnacle to fill in the gap between the assets’ values.

In a press release, Pinnacle chairman and CEO Daniel R. Lee says the closing paves the way for his company to move forward on Sugarcane Bay and the proposed resort in Baton Rouge.

A Pinnacle spokeswoman tells GlobeSt.com that the company doesn’t anticipate any additional roadblocks. “The commission already approved the process to develop Sugarcane, pending voter approval,” she tells GlobeSt.com. “We got that.” A groundbreaking date for Sugarcane Bay hasn’t been announced, but the spokeswoman says Pinnacle would like to begin moving dirt in summer 2007, with completion slated in 2009.

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