- Associated Press - Thursday, July 23, 2015
Gambling regulators approve Golden Gaming, Lakes merger

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Nevada gambling regulators say the owner of three Pahrump, Nevada casinos west of Las Vegas and 48 taverns across the state can merge with a casino company that owns a four-diamond casino-resort in Maryland.

Slot-route operator Sartini Gaming Inc. and Lakes Entertainment Inc. announced the all-stock merger valued at $341 million in January and said Thursday at a Nevada Gaming Commission meeting that they expect the deal to close Aug. 1 forming Golden Entertainment Inc.

Blake Sartini will be CEO and chairman of the new company that will include Lakes Entertainment’s Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Cumberland, Maryland. Sartini says he expects the new company to grow by buying and building new casinos but he isn’t eyeing specific locations yet. The company also has a gambling license in Montana.

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Ex-Supreme Court chief given key role in sex offender case

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson was appointed Thursday to help facilitate potential changes to the state’s civil commitment program for sex offenders, which was ruled unconstitutional last month.

Magnuson, who will be the special master, is well-versed on issues surrounding the Minnesota Sex Offender Program: He was chairman of a task force that recommended an overhaul to the program in 2013, and warned lawmakers back then that if they failed to act, they risked having the program dismantled by the federal court.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank gave the state’s political leaders another chance to propose solutions for the program, which keeps sex offenders locked up indefinitely after they complete their prison sentences. He also made it clear that if changes aren’t made, he will impose his own, including possibly closing secure facilities at St. Peter and Moose Lake.

Frank issued a written order Thursday, saying that a special master is necessary to coordinate the case going forward and “to accommodate the public interest in achieving prompt and just solutions to the serious constitutional problems identified by the Court.”

Magnuson will be authorized to oversee changes imposed by the court, Frank said. He also said Magnuson agreed to serve as special master free of charge, and that the court views the role as “nonadversarial,” assuming both parties will cooperate with Magnuson.

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Dayton rearranges trade mission to accommodate court session

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is shaving some time off his upcoming trade trip to Mexico to be at a court conference on the state’s sex offender confinement program.

Dayton’s office said Thursday he would be at the Aug. 10 conference on possible changes to the civil commitment program that a federal judge ruled unconstitutional. Judge Donovan Frank has asked the governor and legislative leaders to appear for the start of a remedy phase.

Dayton was supposed to leave a day earlier on a state trade mission. Deputy Chief of Staff Linden Zakula says the governor’s travel schedule has been rearranged so Dayton can join up with other participants at a later date. Zakula says Dayton will miss some meetings in Mexico that couldn’t be changed.

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Report: Teen in hospital attack improperly placed there

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A teenager accused in a brutal assault on a state psychiatric hospital staff member was placed in the adult institution in possible violation of a federal court order governing such decisions, according to a newspaper report Thursday.

The 16-year-old, whose identity is protected in court records, may have been ineligible to be put in the secure St. Peter hospital under a 2011 legal settlement, which was crafted to keep patients solely with developmental disabilities out of settings meant for violent or severely mentally ill patients, the Star Tribune reported (https://strib.mn/1foNMg2https://strib.mn/1foNMg2 ).

Court records show the teen with a deeply troubled childhood was transferred in May from a juvenile detention center in Pine County to the Minnesota Security Hospital, where he allegedly assaulted a female security counselor so severely this month that she was hospitalized with head injuries.

The Department of Human Services wouldn’t discuss his specific case, citing privacy reasons, but acknowledged gaps in the system for treating young adults with development disabilities and aggressive behavior.

“We are looking at ways to address these gaps so individuals can be placed in the setting most appropriate to their needs,” the agency said in a written statement.

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