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Aristocrat Remains Quiet Over Legal Expenses

22 August 2006

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Australian: "The world's second-biggest poker machine maker, Aristocrat Leisure, is remaining coy about how much it will provide for litigation expenses this year after provisions jumped 73 per cent to $28.94 million last year.

"Chief executive Paul Oneile was loath to talk about current litigation funding, saying only that it was a fact of life in the gambling industry.

"Aristocrat provided $28.94 million in litigation expenses in calendar 2005 - up from $16.74 million the previous year - as it battled a $190 million class action from shareholders who watched the company's share price fall dramatically between September 2002 and May 2003. Mr Oneile became CEO in November 2003.

"…Yesterday Aristocrat released first-half results that showed declining revenues but a record after-tax profit of $104.7 million.

"Aristocrat revenue was dragged down by falling sales in Japan because of new gaming rules which demand that payouts are reduced but made more frequently.

"…Despite the problems in Japan, once Aristocrat's biggest foreign market, net profit rose 3 per cent on the back of a marginal decline in revenue to $495.9 million…"

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