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Dec. 28, 2011 (Lakeside) - One lucky San Diegan's life was forever changed on Dec. 23 with the drawing of Barona Resort & Casino's largest, guaranteed grand finale prize in its history: The Golden Ticket Giveaway. Ending 2011 on an exciting note, Mary T. of San Diego was thrilled to learn that her Golden Ticket was the winning ticket drawn out of 53 daily winners over the 53 day promotion.

When Mary headed out to Barona last Friday, she didn't have a Golden Ticket but she had high hopes her name would be drawn for the last Golden Ticket so she could be part of the historic $250,000 grand prize drawing. Mary's wish came true.

During the promotion which began on Nov. 1, one player's name was randomly drawn every day to be the daily Golden Ticket winner. As the promotion neared the end, players excitedly followed the countdown to the very last Golden Ticket drawing on December 23 only moments before the grand finale ceremony at 9 p.m.

"Since its launch, our Golden Ticket promotion has created so much fun and excitement, especially on December 23 as hundreds of Club Barona members were hoping to be selected as the last Golden Ticket holder to be entered into the grand prize drawing," said Rick Salinas, general manager of Barona Resort & Casino. "Mary T. was one of those hopeful players. Out for the evening with her son, she was hoping to hear her name announced when the final Golden Ticket was drawn and she did."

While players didn't have to be present to win any of the 53 Golden Tickets or the $250,000 grand prize drawing, most of the Golden Ticket holders were at Barona for the grand finale. Barona's Casino Managers described the energy as "Mardi Gras-like" as the Golden Ticket winners paraded through the casino and the electricity on the casino floor was at an all-time high.

"Mary was thrilled when her name was announced as the 53rd Golden Ticket holder but she was ecstatic when her name was announced a few minutes later as the grand prize winner," said Casino Manager Ray Juergens. "In a matter of 15 minutes, Mary T. went from not even having a Golden Ticket to winning a quarter million dollars. It was just so exciting."

In the spirit of the holiday season and in typical Barona fashion, General Manager Rick Salinas surprised the 52 remaining Golden Ticket holders with a
$1,000 bonus. One of the surprised Golden Ticket holders said, "Barona is the best. I thought I was the luckiest person imaginable to have a 1-in-53 chance to win a quarter of a million dollars. When I didn't win the grand prize, Barona's General Manager gave away another $52,000 as he surprised the rest of us with $1,000 each. Playing at Barona is like getting a free prize inside a box of cereal when I was a kid."

The Golden Ticket Giveaway promotion ran Nov. 1 through Dec. 23, where Club Barona members entered daily to win one of 53 Golden Tickets for the grand prize drawing of $250,000; an additional 50 players who played during the promotion also were drawn for $1,000 in cash each. Guests didn't have to be present to win the drawings because the selected winners were notified individually over the phone, sent a Golden Ticket button, and had their names posted throughout the casino and on www.barona.com.

Barona Casino offers 2,000 slot and video poker machines,over 80 table, as well as the latest innovations in chipless gaming. Barona Resort
& Casino, an AAA Four Diamond rated property, is also LEEDR Gold Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, Barona is San Diego's leading destination resort featuring 400 guest rooms and suites all with beautiful views of the Barona Valley, a variety of award-winning dining options, the AmBience Day Spa, a full-service events center and the 18-hole championship Barona Creek Golf Club, rated the 3rd best resort course in California by Golfweek magazine.

For Barona Resort & Casino reservations and information, visit www.barona.com , or call toll free 888-7-BARONA (722-7662).

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