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Atlantic City Casinos Not Worried About SARS Impact

4 April 2003

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey - The perception: Casinos here cater to wealthy gamblers who fly in from Hong Kong and other points in the Far East.

"The reality: Almost all of the casinos' Asian business these days comes from New York and other points in the United States.

"For that reason, casino officials say, the gambling business here won't suffer from travel restrictions due to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in the Far East.

"…Trump Taj Mahal actively recruited gamblers in Hong Kong in the 1990s but has since curtailed its international marketing. It has no marketing offices abroad and its Asian marketing department serves domestic players.

"Park Place Entertainment, which owns high-rolling Caesars Atlantic City and two other local casinos, said SARS travel restrictions won't have `a measurable effect on our business performance in Atlantic City.'

"…Tropicana has `a very active' Asian marketing program and offers a special gambling area called the Jade Palace, but it doesn't attract players from Asia, spokeswoman Maureen Siman said.

"…SARS is not regarded as a threat at Atlantic City International Airport because there are no scheduled or charter flights from the Far East. Casinos once operated charter flights bringing in Asian gamblers who live in Canada, but they stopped well before the SARS outbreak began, an airport official said…"

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