Aztar Reports Record Operating Cash Flow; EPS of $0.46

Aztar PHOENIX, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Aztar Corporation (NYSE: AZR) today
announced third-quarter operating results, including a second straight record
for operating cash flow. Highlights of the quarter, ended September 27, 2001,
were:

-- Operating cash flow (EBITDAR) of $54.5 million, up from $51.8 million
in the 2000 quarter.
-- Operating income of $37.3 million, up from $33.8 million.
-- Net income of $17.8 million, up from $14.6 million last year.
-- Earnings per share of 46 cents, diluted, up from 34 cents per share a
year earlier.
-- Operating cash flow margin of 25.0%, up from 23.3% last year.

During our third quarter, we attained the highest level of operating cash
flow in our company's history, said Paul E. Rubeli, Aztar chairman of the
board, president and chief executive officer. Our diligent focus during the
quarter on programs that produce revenues with higher profit components and on
keeping tight control of expenses enabled us to produce our strong results.
Operating cash flow, as measured by earnings before interest, taxes,
depreciation, amortization and rent (EBITDAR) now has increased over the year-
earlier quarter in 22 of the last 23 quarters. For the last 12 months through
September, EBITDAR was $190.5 million, a 12-month record, topping the
$187.8 million 12-month record reported in the previous quarter.

Tropicana Atlantic City
Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City reported third-quarter
operating cash flow of $38.5 million, compared with $34.3 million in the
comparable 2000 quarter, a 12.2% increase. Operating cash flow margin was
30.6%, up from 27.1% last year. EBITDAR during the past 12 months was
$117.8 million, a second consecutive 12-month record.

Tropicana Las Vegas
Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas reported third-quarter operating
cash flow of $5.6 million, compared to $7.0 million a year ago. Operating
cash flow margin declined to 14.8% from 18.1% a year earlier. EBITDAR for the
last 12 months was $27.5 million.

Ramada Express Laughlin
Ramada Express Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada reported third-quarter
operating cash flow of $3.8 million, equal to the year-earlier quarter.
Operating cash flow margin was 17.5% in the quarter, up from 16.8% in the 2000
third quarter. EBITDAR for the last 12 months was $21.7 million.

Casino Aztar Evansville
Casino Aztar, the company's riverboat casino in Evansville, Indiana,
reported third-quarter operating cash flow of $8.4 million, compared with
$9.0 million in the year-earlier quarter. Operating cash flow margin
increased to 31.7% from 31.1% in the year-earlier quarter. EBITDAR for the
last 12 months was $32.1 million.

Casino Aztar Caruthersville
Casino Aztar, the company's riverboat casino in Caruthersville, Missouri,
reported $1.0 million of third-quarter operating cash flow, up from
$0.7 million in the year-earlier period. Operating cash flow margin was
16.3%, up from 12.0%. EBITDAR for the last 12 months was $3.9 million.

Balance Sheet Items
Long-term debt, including the current portion, was $460 million at the end
of the third quarter, compared with $451 million at the end of the second
quarter. Cash and cash equivalents were $82 million at the end of the third
quarter compared to $41 million at the end of the second quarter. The
company's ratio of long-term debt to EBITDA was 2.7 times and EBITDA coverage
of interest expense was 4.4 times. There were 36.8 million shares of common
stock outstanding at the end of the third quarter.

Stock Repurchase
During the third quarter of 2001, the company purchased 583,200 shares of
Aztar common stock at prices ranging from $10.52 per share to $16.10 per share
at an average price of $13.07 per share. After the end of the third quarter,
the company also purchased 303,700 shares, which was the balance remaining to
be purchased under the company share repurchase authorization. From the
beginning of the share repurchase program in May 1999 through its completion,
the company purchased 11.0 million shares at prices ranging from $6.69 per
share to $16.10 per share at an average price of $11.64 per share.

Year-to-date Results
For the first three quarters of 2001, the company reported EBITDAR of
$153.9 million compared with $150.0 million for the same period in 2000;
EBITDAR margin was 24.1% compared with 22.9%. Operating income was
$101.1 million, compared with $96.6 million a year earlier. Net income for
the first three quarters of 2001 was $45.2 million, equivalent to $1.15 per
share, diluted, compared with $47.9 million, or $1.10 per share, diluted. The
second quarter of 2000 included a non-recurring tax benefit of $7.5 million
due to the favorable resolution of an issue in connection with Internal
Revenue Service examinations of the company's tax returns for years 1989
through 1996.

Conference Call
The company's fiscal third-quarter 2001 earnings conference call will be
broadcast live on the Internet beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on
Wednesday, October 17, 2001. Individuals may access the live audio webcast
through our website at www.aztar.com and at www.mycompanyboardroom.com. The
call also will be available on replay through those websites for 30 days
following the call.


Selected Results by Property($ in millions, except ADR*)

Third Quarter Year to Date
2001 2000 2001 2000
(unaudited) (unaudited)
Tropicana Atlantic City
Revenue $125.9 $126.6 $348.8 $358.6
Operating income $31.3 $27.2 $73.2 $68.3
EBITDAR ** $38.5 $34.3 $94.8 $89.6
EBITDAR margin 30.6% 27.1% 27.2% 25.0%
Rent $0.6 $0.7 $1.9 $1.8

Occupancy 94.0% 97.9% 93.4% 94.7%
ADR $91.04 $89.15 $84.02 $81.89


Tropicana Las Vegas
Revenue $37.8 $38.3 $118.5 $117.3
Operating income $1.4 $2.1 $8.3 $6.9
EBITDAR $5.6 $7.0 $21.2 $21.7
EBITDAR margin 14.8% 18.1% 17.8% 18.5%
Rent $2.3 $2.5 $7.1 $7.6

Occupancy 94.2% 97.8% 96.9% 97.2%
ADR $67.06 $65.85 $72.28 $69.91

Ramada Express Laughlin
Revenue $21.7 $22.4 $72.2 $75.3
Operating income $2.3 $2.3 $13.4 $13.6
EBITDAR $3.8 $3.8 $18.0 $18.1
EBITDAR margin 17.5% 16.8% 24.9% 24.0%
Rent $0.1 $0.1 $0.3 $0.5

Occupancy 77.9% 83.2% 84.4% 87.4%
ADR $28.56 $27.02 $27.66 $27.60

Casino Aztar Evansville
Revenue $26.5 $28.8 $78.8 $84.5
Operating income $4.9 $5.3 $14.8 $16.7
EBITDAR $8.4 $9.0 $26.0 $26.9
EBITDAR margin 31.7% 31.1% 33.0% 31.8%
Rent $1.2 $1.1 $4.4 $2.6

Occupancy 83.7% 88.1% 76.3% 83.1%

ADR $65.34 $64.39 $66.16 $64.08

Casino Aztar Caruthersville
Revenue $6.2 $6.1 $19.0 $19.0
Operating income $0.3 $-- $1.1 $0.3
EBITDAR $1.0 $0.7 $3.3 $2.6
EBITDAR margin 16.3% 12.0% 17.3% 13.9%
Rent $0 $0 $0 $0

Corporate
Operating income $(2.9) $(3.1) $(9.7) $(9.2)
EBITDAR $(2.8) $(3.0) $(9.4) $(8.9)
Rent $0.1 $0.1 $0.3 $0.3

Consolidated
Revenue $218.1 $222.2 $637.3 $654.7
Operating income $37.3 $33.8 $101.1 $96.6
EBITDAR $54.5 $51.8 $153.9 $150.0
EBITDAR margin 25.0% 23.3% 24.1% 22.9%
Rent $4.3 $4.5 $14.0 $12.8

* ADR = Average Daily Rate
** EBITDAR = Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization
& rent


Aztar is a publicly traded company that operates Tropicana Casino and
Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas,
Nevada, Ramada Express Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, Casino Aztar in
Caruthersville, Missouri, and Casino Aztar in Evansville, Indiana.

The disclosures herein include statements that are 'forward looking'
within the meaning of federal securities law. These forward-looking
statements generally can be identified by phrases such as the company
believes, expects, anticipates, foresees, forecasts, estimates, or
other words or phrases of similar import. Similarly, statements herein that
describe the company's business strategy, outlook, objectives, plans,
intentions or goals are also forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking
information involves important risks and uncertainties that could
significantly affect results in the future and, accordingly, such results may
differ from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by or on
behalf of the company. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not
limited to, those relating to terrorist activities, economic conditions, the
cyclical nature of the hotel business and the gaming business, competition,
the effects of weather, legislative and regulatory matters, and reliance on
key personnel. For more information, review the company's filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company's annual report on
Form 10-K for December 28, 2000 and certain registration statements of the
company.


Aztar Corporation and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Operations (unaudited)
For the periods ended September 27, 2001 and September 28, 2000
(in thousands, except per share data)


Third Quarter Nine Months
2001 2000 2001 2000
Revenues
Casino $175,014 $177,389 $506,783 $523,592
Rooms 19,434 19,270 58,494 55,980
Food and beverage 13,769 14,672 42,654 43,922
Other 9,896 10,874 29,382 31,198
218,113 222,205 637,313 654,692
Costs and expenses
Casino 72,063 77,367 214,373 226,875
Rooms 10,189 10,292 29,771 29,062
Food and beverage 13,596 14,558 41,762 43,043
Other 8,206 8,922 24,502 25,648
Marketing 21,752 22,174 61,835 69,211
General and
administrative 19,156 19,696 57,908 58,826
Utilities 5,088 4,730 13,415 11,604
Repairs and maintenance 6,103 6,094 18,170 19,198
Provision for doubtful
accounts 1,092 540 2,936 3,204
Property taxes and
insurance 6,358 6,079 18,750 17,997
Rent 4,306 4,478 13,995 12,828
Depreciation and
amortization 12,861 13,478 38,788 40,644
180,770 188,408 536,205 558,140

Operating income 37,343 33,797 101,108 96,552

Interest income 392 313 1,108 995
Interest expense (9,529) (10,407) (28,691) (31,669)
Equity in unconsolidated
partnership's loss (845) (1,081) (2,825) (3,166)

Income before income
taxes 27,361 22,622 70,700 62,712

Income taxes (9,536) (8,070) (25,472) (14,783)

Net income $ 17,825 $ 14,552 $ 45,228 $ 47,929

Net income per common
share $.47 $.35 $1.19 $1.14

Net income per common
share assuming dilution $.46 $.34 $1.15 $1.10

Weighted-average common
shares applicable to:
Net income per common
share 37,223 40,428 37,670 41,383
Net income per common
share assuming dilution 38,879 42,397 39,178 43,078



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