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Chris Jones

MTR Gaming Earnings Slide

12 November 2004

LAS VEGAS -- Solid performances at MTR Gaming Group's two Southern Nevada casino couldn't offset so-so returns from its casinos in Ohio and West Virginia. As a result, the Chester, W.Va.-based gaming operator's third-quarter financial returns were as flat as its home state is mountainous.

On Monday, MTR said companywide net revenue was $83.8 million in the three months ended Sept. 30, up 1.5 percent from $82.6 million in last year's third quarter. Cash flow, generally defined as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, was $18.6 million in the quarter, a 6 percent increase from last year's $17.6 million.

Net income dipped to $5.86 million, or 20 cents per diluted share, from $5.99 million, or 21 cents per share, a year ago. Binion's Horseshoe, which MTR owns but is managed by Harrah's Entertainment, reported $647,000 in quarterly revenue.

Nearly all of that money came from a $212,000 monthly fee Harrah's pays MTR to oversee the downtown Las Vegas hotel-casino. MTR's Speedway increased its revenue from $2.3 million a year ago to $2.64 million, while cash flow there climbed to $180,000, reversing a $78,000 cash-flow loss a year ago. MTR's flagship casino, West Virginia's Mountaineer Park, had its revenue fall from $78.7 million to $78.1, a decrease of $621,000, or less than 1 percent.

Cash flow increased to $20.6 million from $19.7 million. High fuel costs, bad weather and increased competition hurt revenue at the 3,220-slot machine Mountaineer Park casino and race track, MTR President and Chief Executive Officer Ted Arneault said.

Cost-cutting efforts aided its quarterly cash flow, he added. Scioto Downs, an MTR harness horse racing track in Columbus, Ohio, reported revenue of $2.4 million and a negative cash flow of $249,000. In third quarter 2003, those figures were $1.48 million and a loss of $115,000, respectively.