Birthday Jackpot

updated 10/17/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/17/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

When the clock struck midnight Oct. 3 in Las Vegas, Ashlee Simpson had only two wishes for her 21st birthday: to drink champagne and try her luck. But before anteing up, Simpson first treated 200 guests to a concert at Pure Nightclub at Caesars Palace, performing two songs off her new album I Am Me (due Oct. 18). Then she hit the roulette table with a glass of bubbly in one hand and a $100 bill in the other.

Within 10 minutes, the birthday girl had already won big. "You can pay for your house now!" joked mom Tina, referring to Ashlee's new manse. Added a pal: "Or at least buy some furniture." But nesting will have to wait. After a Monday night dinner with friends at Spago, Simpson resumed her promotional tour, which includes a high-stakes wager for her career: an Oct. 8 performance on Saturday Night Live, the site of last year's lip-synching debacle. "I'm excited," she says. "I've been waiting to go back."

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