These tropical climes are inhabited by one-armed bandits and showgirls. Tropicana Entertainment is a casino and riverboat gaming operator with about 10 properties in five states (Nevada, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Jersey) and Aruba. Its flagship property is The Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City. The portfolio also includes Casino Aztar in Evansville, Indiana and the Belle of Baton Rouge in Louisiana. All total, assets include approximately 6,000 hotel rooms and more than 420,000 square feet of gaming space. Tropicana Entertainment emerged from bankruptcy a newly reorganized company after billionaire investor Carl Icahn took control in 2010. He owns about 60% of Tropicana Entertainment.
Tropicana Entertainment attributed its less than stellar 2010 earnings to a sluggish economy that has yet to see a recovery in gaming markets. The company was forced to write-down accounting charges due to the declining value of several of its assets, including $3.7 million on the Tropicana trade name and $10.5 million associated with the gaming license at Casino Aztar in Indiana. Revenue in 2010 for its Nevada casinos was down thanks to a decline in slot machine use, table game play, and hotel occupancy. In an industry where businesses must constantly upgrade their facilities, Tropicana is faced with limitations on capital expenditures resulting from its recent Chapter 11 cases.
The company began reporting financial results in 2010 after completing its bankruptcy reorganization and acquiring the Tropicana in Atlantic City. The property had been seized by the State of New Jersey after violating certain regulations that left it dirty and understaffed, and Tropicana Entertainment bought it out of a seperate bankruptcy case for $200 million. As a result of its own bankruptcy restructuring, Tropicana Entertainment eliminated approximately $2.5 billion of pre-existing indebtedness, and the company is now left with some $263 million in debt.
The reorganization follows a string of financial and regulatory setbacks that led to the Chapter 11 filings. The firm had been already saddled with debt following the $2.1 billion acquisition of Aztar Corporation, but a downturn in the economy that slowed the travel and tourism industry exacerbated the company's problems. As part of its reorganization, the company spun off its Tropicana Las Vegas hotel on the Vegas Strip. That property was sold to former MGM MIRAGE executive Alex Yemenidjian, who partnered with Canadian private equity investor Onex Corporation to take over the property. Tropicana Entertainment is embroiled in a trademark litigation case with Las Vegas Tropicana over the Tropicana name.
The current iteration of the company was formed in 2007 when Wimar Tahoe, the casino affiliate of Columbia Sussex that did business as Columbia Entertainment, purchased Aztar. (Columbia Entertainment outbid several rivals, including Pinnacle Entertainment and Ameristar Casinos, in a heated bidding war for Aztar, valuable for its Tropicana hotel, one of the last big redevelopment opportunities on the Vegas Strip.) After the deal closed, Wimar Tahoe took on the Tropicana Entertainment identity.
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