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Bahamas Ministry Offers Isle of Capri More Concessions

8 February 2006

BAHAMAS – As reported by the Bahamas Journal: "In a bid to keep the operators of the Isle of Capri Casino in Freeport from pulling out, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, who is also responsible for gaming, has revealed that the government has agreed to offer the operators further concessions. However, he did not specify exactly what those concessions are. Several months ago, Isle of Capri's General Manager Eddie Llambias said that without the concessions, he did not see the casino staying open past the end of 2005.

"The company also laid off 45 employees in what management had said was a last-ditch, but nonetheless essential move to cut operational costs and give the operation a better chance at turning a profit.Up to September, approximately 240 employees were still working at the casino, including part-time staff.Minister Wilchcombe told The Bahama Journal that when he spoke with Mr. Llambias several weeks ago, he appeared to be "optimistic" about the future of Grand Bahama's only operating casino.

"Because it was facing financial challenges last year, Isle of Capri had asked the government to re-think the casino taxation system and had requested marketing and promotional dollars to keep the operation afloat.

"…Unemployment rose from 9.3 percent in 2004 to 11 percent in 2005, the Department of Statistics said in its last report. In his more recent interview with The Bahama Journal, Minister Wilchcombe said the government needs to move with the times and make sure it is attracting businesses and not chasing them away…"

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