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Aztar Reports EPS of $0.34 Before Non-Recurring Tax Benefit

19 July 2000

PHOENIX, Arizona--(Press Release)-- July 19,2000-- Aztar Corporation (NYSE: AZR - news) today announced the results of its operations for the second quarter, ended June 29, 2000. Highlights for the quarter were:

Earnings per share of $0.34 before a non-recurring tax benefit;including the tax benefit, earnings were $0.51 per share; record revenues of $221.0 million, an increase of 7%; record operating cash flow of $52 million, up 23%; record operating income of $34.3 million, 40% higher.

Earnings per common share, assuming dilution, were $0.51 compared to $0.04 in the year-earlier quarter. The second quarter of 2000 included a non-recurring tax benefit of $7.5 million due to the favorable resolution of an issue in connection with Internal Revenue Service examinations of the company's tax returns for years 1989 through 1996. The year-earlier quarter included a charge equivalent to $0.09 per share for an extraordinary item related to early redemption of debt.

Operating cash flow, as measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and rent (EBITDAR), was $52.0 million in the second quarter of 2000, a 23% increase. Operating cash flow now has increased over the year-earlier quarter in 17 of the last 18 quarters. For the last twelve months, EBITDAR was $179.7 million.

Long-term debt, including the current portion, decreased to $454 million from $465 million at the end of the first quarter. Cash and cash equivalents were $39 million at the end of the second quarter compared to $46 million at the end of the first quarter. The company's ratio of long-term debt to EBITDA was 2.8 times, decreasing from 3.0 times at the end of the first quarter.

During the quarter, the company purchased 1.3 million shares of Aztar common stock at prices ranging from $9.13 per share to $14.94 per share at an average price of $12.29 per share. There were 40.7 million shares outstanding at the end of the quarter.

``We are pleased to report the highest quarterly levels of revenues, income and operating cash flow in our company's history,'' said Paul E. Rubeli, Aztar chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer. ``Our significant free cash flow enabled us to continue to aggressively repurchase our stock and to further strengthen our balance sheet. Our company has never been stronger and our outlook has never been better. We will continue to repurchase our stock.''

Tropicana Atlantic City

Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City reported record second-quarter operating cash flow of $30.7 million, a 19% increase from the comparable 1999 quarter. This quarter marks the fifteenth straight quarter in which the property has produced quarterly operating cash flows higher than the year-earlier quarter.

Revenues at the Atlantic City Tropicana increased 9% and operating cash flow margin increased to 25.3%. The room occupancy rate was 95% and cash room revenue increased 13%. Operating cash flow at the Atlantic City Tropicana during the last twelve months was $109.8 million, a record for the property.

Tropicana Las Vegas

Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas reported operating cash flow of $8.7 million, compared with $4.8 million in the 1999 second quarter, an increase of more than 80%. Revenues increased 9% to $40.9 million and operating cash flow margin rose to 21.4%.

Occupancy for the quarter was 99% and cash room revenue increased 18%. During the last twelve months, the Las Vegas Tropicana generated $22.1 million of operating cash flow.

Ramada Express Laughlin

Ramada Express Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada reported operating cash flow of $6.0 million, an 11% increase from the year-earlier quarter. Revenues were 4% higher and operating cash flow margin increased to 24.1%. During the last twelve months, the Ramada Express generated $22.8 million of operating cash flow.

Casino Aztar Evansville

Casino Aztar, the company's riverboat casino in Evansville, Indiana, generated operating cash flow of $8.7 million, a decline of 3% from the year-earlier quarter. Operating cash flow during the last twelve months was $33.8 million.

Casino Aztar Caruthersville

Casino Aztar, the company's riverboat casino in Caruthersville, Missouri, reported $823,000 of operating cash flow, up from $456,000 in the year-earlier quarter.

Year-to-date Results

For the first half of 2000, the company reported operating income of $62.8 million, compared with $44.2 million a year earlier. Operating cash flow was $98.3 million, up from $79.2 million; operating cash flow margin was 22.7%, up from 19.9%.

Income before income taxes and extraordinary items was $40.1 million in the first half of 2000 compared to $14.1 million in the comparable 1999 period. Net income after the effects of the non-recurring tax benefit in the 2000 half and the extraordinary item in the 1999 half was $33.4 million, equivalent to $0.76 per share, diluted, compared to $4.7 million, or $0.09 per share, diluted, a year earlier.

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