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Aztar Reports Strong Q1 Results

24 April 2002

PHOENIX, Arizona – (Press Release) -- Aztar Corporation (NYSE: AZR) today announced results for its fiscal first-quarter 2002, including record first-quarter earnings per share, net income, operating income, EBITDAR, and EBITDAR margin. Highlights of the quarter, which ended on April 4, 2002, were:

Earnings per share of 35 cents, diluted, up from 28 cents per share.

Net income of $13.8 million, up 21 percent from $11.4 million.

Operating income of $32.1 million, up from $28.8 million.

EBITDAR of $48.9 million, up from $46.7 million in the 2001 quarter. EBITDAR has now increased over the year-earlier quarter in 24 of the last 25 quarters.

EBITDAR margin of 23.7%, up from 22.4%.

``This was a record-breaking quarter for us, but it was even better than the comparison to last year would indicate since last year's first quarter had the benefit of a New Year's weekend and this year's did not,'' said Paul Rubeli, Aztar chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer. ``We are especially pleased with the results at the Tropicana Atlantic City, where EBITDAR in the quarter increased more than 20% from the 2001 quarter. This performance further validates our confidence in the strength of the Atlantic City market and our operations as we begin construction on a $225 million expansion of the Tropicana. Companywide, we are anticipating a continued strengthening of our markets and performance going forward.''

Accounting Periods

The company uses a 52/53-week fiscal year ending on the Thursday nearest to December 31. Our fiscal first quarter of 2002 began on January 4, 2002 and ended on April 4. The effect of that timing is that the fiscal 2002 first quarter had no New Year's weekend, while the year-earlier quarter did. The company estimates that if it had had the benefit of a New Year's weekend in the 2002 first quarter comparable to that of the first quarter of 2001, EBITDAR would have been approximately $2.5 million higher and earnings per share would have been four cents higher, and each of our properties except the Las Vegas Tropicana would have reported higher EBITDAR than the year-earlier quarter.

Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets

In accordance with recently issued Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 142, ``Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets,'' we ceased amortizing the cost of our initial gaming licenses beginning January 4, 2002. If this statement had been effective last year, our first-quarter 2001 diluted earnings per share would have been 29 cents, or one cent higher than reported.

Las Vegas Tropicana Acquisition

On February 28, 2002, the company acquired the half-interest that it did not own in Tropicana Enterprises, the partnership that controlled the land and buildings related to the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The company paid $117.5 million, funded by cash and borrowings under the company's revolving credit facility. Aztar also assumed approximately $49 million of existing partnership debt that Aztar serviced under its operating lease with the partnership.

Balance Sheet Items

Cash and cash equivalents were $63 million at the end of the first quarter compared with $92 million at the end of the 2001 fourth quarter. Long-term debt, including the current portion, was $568.4 million at the end of the first quarter, compared with $460.1 million at the end of the fourth quarter. Our ratio of long-term debt to EBITDA was 3.1 times and EBITDA coverage of interest expense before the reduction for capitalized interest was 4.5 times. There were 37.3 million shares of common stock outstanding at the end of the first quarter.

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