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Argosy Joins Criticism of Illinois Tax Plan

24 April 2003

ALTON, Illinois -- As reported by the Illinois Telegraph: " Argosy Gaming Co. officials worry that legislation to raise taxes on riverboat casinos in Illinois could cause them to change they way they do business -- and give Missouri casinos an edge over the Alton Belle.

"Gov. Rod Blagojevich has proposed increases to gaming and admission taxes as part of his measures to deal with the state's estimated $5 billion budget deficit. The governor's proposal calls for raising the top tax rate on the state's top-grossing casinos from its current 50 percent to 70 percent. The top tax rate now takes effect on all revenues above $200 million that a casino takes in each year; under Blagojevich's plan, the top rate would kick in after a casino's annual revenues reach $100 million. The proposal also increases the graduated tax rates on revenues below those thresholds.

"...Richard J. Glasier, president of Argosy, said during a conference call this week concerning the company's first-quarter earnings that if those increases were enacted, Argosy would have to offset the costs by possibly reducing casino hours in Illinois, eliminating some marketing programs or charging admission fees.

"...Argosy backs the plan proposed by gaming industry officials, called A Better Deal For Illinois. The plan calls for rolling back the top tax rate on casinos that generate more than $200 million in annual revenue to the pre-2002 level of 35 percent. It also calls for allowing casinos to expand from the current maximum number of 1,200 gaming positions (a combination of slot machines and table games) to a maximum number of 2,000 positions..."

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