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Nevada Gaming Regulators Approves Restructuring Plan for Tropicana Casino

On October 21st, 2008, the Nevada Gaming Regulators voted unanimously to approve a restructuring plan for the bankrupt Tropicana Entertainment LLC, which manages eleven casino properties in the United States. The restructuring plan approved by the state Gambling Commission places the corporation in the hands of a new company board and Tropicana Chief Executive Officer Scott Butera and blocks owner William Yung III, who is initially in line for a slot on the board. Tropicana Entertainment, an affiliate of Yung's hotel corporation Columbia Sussex Corporation had previously been under his direct management.

The new changes follow Tropicana Entertainment's May 2nd Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in Delaware. Butera also stated that changes to the company's Tropicana hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip and other facilities would be done indiscreetly and prudently. He added that good employee-management relations are important and a vital factor in ensuring that will be the approval of a brand new contract with Tropicana workers. Just recently, Butera reached a tentative agreement on a contract with the influential culinary and bartenders union covering 750 Tropicana employees, who have been working on an extended contract since May 2007.

Commission Chairman Pete Bernhard commented that oversight by regulators and by the bankruptcy commission will impose several layers of control. He also said that Tropicana's new management plans will also prevent a brain drain of important staffers that are needed to carry out the new plans. The brand new managing board is headed by banker Thomas Benninger. The other members include Butera, Michael Corrigan and Bradford Smith, a former chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

Tropicana Entertainment has been trying to modify part of a nearly $3 billion debt load, which directly comes from its $2.1 billion buyout of the Aztar Corporation in 2007. Financial problems started after the company lost its casino gaming license to manage the Tropicana Atlantic City and the economy weakened.

As part of the restructuring plan, Tropicana Entertainment plans to relocate its main offices from Crestview Hills, Ky., to Las Vegas. Besides its Tropicana facility on the Las Vegas Strip, the organization's other Nevada-based facilities include the Horizon and MontBleu hotel-casinos on the south shore of Lake Tahoe and the River Palms and Tropicana Express resorts in Laughlin.


11/17/2008 07:24 PM
Richard Kennedy