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Aztar Gambles on $175 Million Expansion Plan

4 February 2001

PHOENIX, Arizona – Feb. 4, 2001 –As reported by the Arizona Republic: "A $175 million Atlantic City casino expansion plan announced Wednesday would add slot machines and hotel rooms, along with a dining and entertainment complex patterned after the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace and the Venetian's Canal Shops, both in Las Vegas.

"With Atlantic City hotel occupancy at 92 percent last year, casino observers call it a safe bet that will help boost the New Jersey gambling mecca's efforts to lure more visitors with non-gaming attractions.

"…Aztar estimates the project will generate more than $40 million in additional cash flow.

"Aztar's 500-room expansion of its Tropicana Casino and Resort joins a wave of Atlantic City development that includes the $1 billion Borgata Resort, a 40-story, 2,000-room hotel set to open at the end of 2003. Harrah's and the Showboat casinos also are expanding. Altogether, Atlantic City is expecting a 25 percent increase in rooms, to 20,000, local tourism officials say. About 33 million visitors try their luck in Atlantic City each year.

"…Aztar reported fourth-quarter net income of $5.1 million, up from a loss of $6.4 million a year ago. Last year's results included $11.3 million in charges related to the retirement of some debt.

"Because of some problems at its smaller casinos, the company lowered its earnings-per-share estimate to 10 cents in early January, the same as last year. The actual number came in at 12 cents per share.

"…The Tropicana in Atlantic City is Aztar's largest source of cash, bringing in $23 million in operating cash flow in the fourth quarter, nearly four times more than the next largest casino, the Tropicana in Las Vegas…"

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