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Australian casino companies face challenges

1 February 2007

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Daily Telegraph: "Smoking bans, international ambitions and Victorian licences could impact on gambling powerhouses Tattersall's and Tabcorp this year.

"Shares in both Melbourne-based companies have run strongly recently and Thomson Financial says the average analyst recommendation is 'hold'.

"Renowned lotteries operator Tattersall's made headlines last year when it beat Tabcorp – owner of Queensland's Conrad Treasury and Jupiters casinos – in the battle for Queensland peer UNiTAB.

"Since then, institutions led a successful push for UNiTAB managing director Dick McIlwain to take over the top spot at Tattersall's.

"ABN Amro analysts say the gaming sector overall this year faces risks that could trigger poor share performances.

"They also say uncertainty over reapproval of Victorian licences, where both companies have interests, would be a' "significant barrier' to a full takeover bid from private equity groups for either group…"

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