Louisiana Gaming Board approves Columbia Entertainment’s financing plan for Aztar purchase

Ft. Mitchell, Louisiana – Columbia Entertainment announced today that the Louisiana Gaming Control Board has unanimously approved the company’s plan to use bank loans and a subordinated debt offering to acquire Aztar Corp.. The favorable vote, combined with recent regulatory approvals including last week’s approval of the acquisition by the Nevada Gaming Commission, means that Columbia now has the necessary regulatory green lights to proceed with its purchase of Aztar for USD 2.75 billion.

Columbia owner and CEO William J. Yung said that his company is eager to assume ownership of Aztar. „The regulatory process has been an invigorating experience for our organization,“ he said, „and we appreciate the advice, support and encouragement we have received from regulators in every jurisdiction. Now that the acquisition approval phase is over, we can focus on completing the deal and moving forward on our ideas for revitalizing the Tropicana brand.“

Columbia Entertainment is a privately held owner and operator of casino gaming properties. When its acquisition of Aztar is complete, Columbia’s gaming portfolio will include 13 casinos in the United States and the Caribbean, including Tropicana branded casino and resort properties in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Columbia’s newest casino opens on December 13, 2006 in the Netherlands Antilles as part of the Westin St. Maarten, Dawn Beach Resort & Spa.

Columbia Entertainment is owned by William J. Yung III, who along with his family also owns Columbia-Sussex Corporation, one of the largest privately held owners, developers and operators of hotel properties in the world. Columbia Sussex is the largest licensee of full-service Marriott Hotels in the U.S. The company and its affiliates own 81 hotels and 27,000 rooms across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean that operate under top brand names including Marriott, Hilton, Westin, Sheraton, Renaissance and Doubletree. The companies will employ 28,000 people when the Aztar acquisition is complete.