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LAS VEGAS-Riviera Holdings Corp. said Friday it intends to voluntarily delist its common stock from NYSE Amex LLC [the former American Stock Exchange] following receipt of a deficiency letter from the Exchange. Riviera is the owner of the Riviera hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip and the Riviera Black Hawk Casino in Black Hawk, CO.

Specifically, the deficiency letter from the Exchange provided notice that Riviera is not in compliance with its guidelines because “it has sustained losses which are so substantial in relation to its overall operations or its existing financial resources, or its financial condition has become so impaired that it appears questionable, in the opinion of the Exchange, as to whether the Company will be able to continue operations and/or meet its obligations as they mature.”

The Exchange requested that Riviera submit a plan by July 1 that would put it in compliance by November 27. Riviera, which “does not believe it can take the steps necessary to satisfy the continued listing criteria of the Exchange within the prescribed time frame,” says it will instead seek to have its common stock quoted on the Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board.

The delisting from the Exchange is expected to be effective 10 calendar days after filing the Form 25. Riviera expects that the last day of trading for its common stock on the NYSE Amex Exchange will be on or about June 25, 2009.

Riviera began questioning its own ability to continue as a going concern at the end of March, when it announced a fourth quarter loss of $12.7 million and said that, in order to maintain liquidity, it would default on its $227-million (outstanding) credit facility by not making a required $4-million interest payment.

Riviera says its cash flow is enough to operate its properties but not enough right now to cover its debt payments. Riviera had $16.3 million in cash and cash equivalents as of the end of March. Company executives say they are working to refinance or restructure its debt but that Riviera may still have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Last month Riviera Reported that a one-time gain narrowed its first quarter loss but that its local resort continued to suffer from intense price competition on the Strip. Riviera lost $1 million, or $0.08 per share, which compares with a loss of $5.8 million, or $0.47 per share, in the first quarter of 2008.

At the end of March 2009, during the company’s fourth quarter 2008 conference call, Riviera chairman Bill Westerman said the deteriorating trends in revenue and earnings experienced during the first three quarters of 2008, continued into the fourth quarter, and accelerated during the first quarter three months of 2009.

“We expect this situation to continue as long as competitors in the Las Vegas market follow a strategy of sacrificing ADR to maximize room occupancy and the decline in convention business is unabated,” he says. “We expect to emerge through a restructuring with a capital structure which will enable the company not only to survive, but to grow as the economy recovers and the competitive situation in Las Vegas returns to a more rational environment.”

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