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Ruffin strikes oil

Talk about having the “Midas Touch,” Phil Ruffin seems to make money just by doing nothing.

Ruffin, the former New Frontier owner who sold his $167 million hotel-casino investment for $1.2 billion nine years later, is buying the Treasure Island from MGM Mirage for $775 million.

During his licensing hearing in front of the Gaming Control Board on Wednesday, Ruffin was asked about 14,000 acres of land he purchased in Belize several years ago.

Ruffin said the land was originally acquired for resort development. But the Central American country’s government discovered oil on the property.

“They took about 2,000 acres and I still have 12,000 acres,” Ruffin said. “We’re fighting in court to keep the oil rights. I guess it’s pretty valuable.”

The comment drew laughter in the control board’s hearing room.

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