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Aladdin Loses $76 Million in 'Ramping Up'


The Aladdin Resort & Casino, Las Vegas' newest gambling palace and the target of criticism for its design flaws, reported Monday that it lost more than $76 million during 2000.

As of Dec. 31, the $1.3-billion resort averaged a profit of only $92 per slot machine, compared to an average of $108 per machine for other casinos along the Las Vegas Strip.

The "Arabian Nights"-themed resort also posted an 86% occupancy rate for its 2,567 hotel rooms since opening in mid-August. The industry average is about 90% occupancy.

Aladdin executives blamed the red ink on the fact that the 35-acre resort is in a "ramping-up" period. They said they have redoubled their marketing efforts and started booking convention business, which has helped fill rooms.

The company says that occupancy climbed to more than 99% for March and slot revenue, after dipping to $66 per machine in January, has risen to $97.

The numbers were disclosed in the company's annual report, filed Monday and covering the 136-day period the Aladdin operated between Aug. 18 and the end of 2000.

The report has been much anticipated by Vegas-watchers, who have criticized the Aladdin as a gambler-unfriendly casino that suffers from basic design and operational flaws. Critics have pointed to the Aladdin's lack of a sweeping entrance from Las Vegas Boulevard and the placement of its 116,000-square-foot casino, which allows guests to sidestep its slot machines.

The report said Aladdin incurred nearly $29 million in pre-opening expenses. It also claimed about $10 million in free rooms, food, beverages and other incentives as promotional costs to lure gamblers.

Just last week, one of the resort's partners, the Sommer family trust, put up $7 million to help fund operations at the resort, industry sources said.

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