Harrahs to pay $30 mln over tribe casino project - Monday 11th of December 2006

A San Diego jury has ordered Harrahs Entertainment Inc. to pay $30 million in damages to the Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians for interfering in its hotel/casino project with Caesars Entertainment, the tribe said on Friday.

Harrahs, which acquired Caesars last year, said in a statement it was disappointed with the verdict and "will aggressively appeal" the decision.

At the trial, the Pauma tribe said it agreed with Caesars in June 2004 to build a $300-million casino resort on its reservation in north San Diego County. But the Harrahs merger, announced in July of that year, led to a conflict because Harrahs operates a competing casino on the adjoining Rincon reservation.

Pauma alleged that Harrahs and Caesars took steps to kill the Pauma deal to avoid a suit by Rincon.

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