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Atlantic City News Round-Up

12 February 2002

by Joe Weinert

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey -- Aztar Corp. said it will begin building its delayed $225 million expansion at the Atlantic City Tropicana on May 1.

"Actually, based on how things are going, we hope to beat that by a few days," Chairman and CEO Paul Rubeli said.

Aztar delayed the project by about five months, saying it wanted more "separation" between the opening of its project and the planned summer 2003 opening of the $1 billion Borgata casino hotel under construction in Atlantic City.

Tropicana's expansion is one of the most ambitious in the city's history. It will feature 502 hotel rooms, 2,400 parking spaces, a 24-room conference center and a 200,000-square-foot shopping, dining and retail complex to be called The Quarter.

*****

Resorts Atlantic City said it doesn't know when or if it will build its planned $125 million, 496-room hotel expansion. Parent Colony Capital indefinitely postponed the project in October, saying the debt markets deteriorated after Sept. 11.

"It is still Resorts management's intention to construct the tower, but they are unable to state with certainty if, or when, the project will commence," the casino said.

*****

Borgata, the $1 billion casino hotel being constructed in Atlantic City's Marina District, named three more vice presidents to its executive team.

They are: Paul Tjoumakaris, a 22-year Caesars Atlantic City veteran who will be vice president of slot operations; Peter Finamore, a 14-year veteran of luxury hotelier Peninsula Group who will be vice president of hospitality (hotel operations); and Victor Tiffany, a 15-year associate of restaurateur Drew Nieporent who will be vice president of food and beverage.

Boyd Gaming Chief Operating Officer Bob Boughner, who is Borgata's CEO, said more appointments will be forthcoming. Borgata is a joint venture of Boyd and MGM Mirage.

*****

Bally's Atlantic City defeated the city's dominant labor union in a vote to organize employees in the casino's uniforms department.

By a 17-10 vote, the employees for the second time in three years said no to Local 54 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union.

It marked the second time in a year that a Park Place Entertainment showed its might against unions. Last summer, slot attendants at Caesars grudgingly accepted a new contract after a monthlong strike failed to earn the desired benefits.

*****

New Jersey State Police arrested an Atlantic City-area man for allegedly scamming casinos out of $130,000 by using fraudulent markers, or counter checks, according to the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Guo Luan Lin and other suspects allegedly obtained about $800,000 in bogus markers, but most were returned by various banks for insufficient funds.

Lin was busted after two undisclosed casinos filed mandatory Suspicious Activity Reports with the DGE. The casinos noticed him handing out gaming chips to associates in order to avoid federal currency transaction reporting rules (amounts more than $10,000).

Atlantic City casinos are required to report any "suspicious" transaction over $5,000.

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