Flat gross earnings recorded last fiscal year at Aztar

Friday, October 15, 2004

Business Today

JEFFERSON CITY -- Casino Aztar experienced flat gross earnings during the last fiscal year, according the Missouri Gaming Commission's annual report on the condition of the industry.

Aztar reported nearly $22.19 million in adjusted gross receipts for the fiscal year ending June 30, about $43,410 less than the previous year.

Contributing to the loss was the fact that the Caruthersville casino attracted 4,652 fewer patrons last year. Aztar ranked last among Missouri's 11 casinos with 349,607 total visitors.

The report cites weak economic conditions in Southeast Missouri as the primary reason for the casino's struggles and isn't optimistic about the future.

"There is no sign that growth prospects for Aztar will change in the near term," the report says.

According to the report, the casino employed 312 people -- 11 fewer than the previous year.

The good news for Aztar is the drop in earnings was minor compared to what it experienced in fiscal year 2003, when its gross receipts declined by 6 percent or $1.4 million.

Missouri's casino industry reported a combined $1.4 billion in adjusted gross earnings in FY 2004, an increase of 7.7 percent or almost $100 million. Ameristar casino in St. Charles led all others with $284.8 million in gross receipts.

Gaming commission executive director Kevin Mullally said last year's growth was in line with projections.

"Given the economic conditions, that was a healthy rate of growth," Mullally said.

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