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POSTED November 5, 2013 8:36 p.m.

 

INDIAN CASINO OPENS IN WINE COUNTRY: PETALUMA (AP) — The opening of one of California's largest Indian casinos on Tuesday drew throngs of visitors and snarled traffic in the state's wine country.

The $800 million Graton Resort & Casino opened at 10 a.m. and within a few hours the parking lot was full and the California Highway Patrol was advising drivers to find alternate parking.

The casino — owned by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria — is 50 miles north of San Francisco and features Las Vegas-style gambling with 3,000 slot and video poker machines, blackjack and other card games.

"We've built it for convenience, access and accessibility, and then we've added quality to a level the market has not seen before," said Joe Hasson, casino general manager.

California has more than 60 tribal casinos that generated about $6.9 billion in revenue in 2011, according to a recent report about the industry by economist Alan Meister.

Revenue grew by about 1.6 percent in 2011 after three years of declines, Casino City's Indian Gaming Report showed.

Graton is 30 miles south of River Rock Casino, also in Sonoma County. There also are several large Indian casinos in the Sacramento region.

Still, there is room for growth in California's gambling market, particularly in populous coastal counties, said I. Nelson Rose, a professor at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa and an expert in gambling law.

“We're clearly not reaching the saturation point," he said.

The less than 45-minute drive to Graton from the Golden Gate Bridge is a clear advantage for the casino, Hasson said. Graton has flooded the region with TV and other advertising.

T-MOBILE SUBSCRIBERS UP FOR 2ND STRAIGHT QUARTER: NEW YORK (AP) — T-Mobile's initiatives to break wireless industry conventions seem to be working.

The No. 4 wireless company said Tuesday that it added 643,000 long-term, good-credit phone customers in the latest quarter. It's the second straight quarter of increase after years of losses.

The growth comes as T-Mobile introduced new pricing plans, the ability to upgrade phones more frequently and free data and texting services in more than 100 countries.

T-Mobile is also boosting its subscriber growth prediction for the full year. T-Mobile says it now expects to add a net 1.6 million to 1.8 million of the good-credit customers this year, up from its previous prediction of 1 million to 1.2 million.

Shares of T-Mobile, which is under the control of Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG, initially rose as much as 4 percent after the results came out, but they fell 1.9 percent to $27.81 in afternoon trading.

One concern: Much of the gains came from new plans with lower service fees. For the core plans, average revenue per subscriber was $52.20, down from $56.59 a year ago. T-Mobile expects that to stabilize late next year.

In the quarter, T-Mobile lost $36 million, down from a loss of $7.7 billion a year earlier, when the company took a charge for the declining value of some assets. Revenue grew 37 percent to $6.7 billion, largely because of the absorption of MetroPCS customers from a merger this year. T-Mobile also benefited from higher smartphone sales.

Overall, T-Mobile added 1 million customers in the third quarter to end with 45 million. Besides the 643,000 good-credit phone customers, T-Mobile added 5,000 of such customers for non-phone devices, namely tablets.

CVS CAREMARK 3Q PROFIT RISES 25 PERCENT: NEW YORK (AP) — CVS Caremark's third-quarter earnings climbed 25 percent as generic drugs and an improving pharmacy benefits management business helped the drugstore chain beat Wall Street expectations.

The Woonsocket, R.I., company also raised its 2013 earnings forecast when it announced results Tuesday morning. Investors pushed the company's shares to another all-time high price in trading.

Drugstore operators and pharmacy benefits managers have benefited for several quarters now from the expiration of patents protecting top-selling brand-name drugs from cheaper generic competition. These generics help profitability because they deliver a wider margin between the cost for the pharmacy to purchase the drugs and the reimbursement it receives for doling it out.

CVS Caremark said more than 81 percent of the prescriptions it dispenses from its retail pharmacies are now generics. That's up from nearly 80 percent in last year's quarter. In contrast, the company's retail pharmacies had a 73 percent generic dispensing rate in the third quarter of 2010, a year before top-selling drugs like the cholesterol fighter Lipitor lost U.S. patent protection.

Overall, CVS Caremark earned $1.25 billion, or $1.02 per share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 30. That compares with $1.01 billion, or 79 cents per share, last year. Revenue climbed nearly 6 percent to $31.97 billion.

Adjusted earnings totaled $1.05 per share.

 

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