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Caliente gets back into the game

15 May 2008

TIJUANA, Mexico -- As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune: "Construction workers are still removing debris and gardeners are tending to recently planted lawns, but a new kind of betting has begun at the iconic Caliente casino.

"The historic building has a new facade with a Las Vegas-style entryway. Within, there's the greyhound track, remodeled halls for traditional bingo games, sports betting, an international-cuisine restaurant and a piano bar.

"Also inside are 1,333 new electronic gambling machines, which turned Caliente into the largest casino in Mexico when it opened last month. The casino's owner, former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon, invested more than $25 million in the facility.

"...Next month, construction of a 33,000-seat soccer stadium is expected to be finished. The stadium will be capable of hosting a first division soccer team, which the Hank family has sought for years.

"A private firm plans to open a 425,000-square-foot shopping center with a movie theater, high-end retailers, a Wal-Mart and a Starbucks by March.

"...In Mexico, gambling is limited to sporting events, including horse racing, and number-based games of chance such as bingo. In 2004, however, the government approved legislation that opened the doors to bingo-based electronic games..."

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