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Lakes Gaming, the company financing the Jamul casino’s development, held a conference call earlier today updating investors on the status of the project. Lakes released its annual financial report today.

No mention was made of the demolition at the Jamul Indian Village earlier this week.

Neither the report nor the conference call lay out any specific timeframe for construction. Tim Cope, the company’s chief financial officer, told investors that the final casino may look different than the 12-story version currently planned.

“We are currently working on alternative casino designs,” he said, “including when we think construction could begin.”

Lakes raked in $20.9 million in net earnings last year, compared with its $11.9 million loss in 2005. The news pushed the company’s stock up 1.4 percent to $9.88 per share.

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob has protested Lakes’ financial disclosures with the Securities and Exchange Commission previously, saying the company had inappropriately ignored lawsuits filed by casino opponents Karen Toggery and Walter Rosales, whose homes were torn down Monday. Jacob suggested the demolition was motivated by the pending annual report; the tribe said it was simply tired of delays that have held the project back.

The latest report filed with the SEC says:

There has been some local opposition regarding the project, although no formal legal action has been taken.

The report outlines the casino’s expected shift to bingo-style slot machines, which do not require state approval. The tribe had wanted to provide 2,000 Vegas-style slot machines along with the table games such as blackjack found in Las Vegas casinos. Tribal chairman Leon Acebedo said earlier this week that the tribe had shelved plans for those games and instead would offer bingo-style slots.

The financial report concludes:

We believe this project will be successfully completed.

ROB DAVIS

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