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 French Lick Springs Resort & Casino Retains Employees at 100 % of Compensation
& Benefits During Year-long Suspension of Operations for
Restoration and New Construction
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Partners with Ivy Tech Community College to Provide Service Training

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, May 2, 2006 - Benchmark Hospitality International will reopen the restored and expanded French Lick Springs Resort & Casino in November of this year.  Upon reopening, 350 + employees will return to work fully retrained, having enjoyed the benefit of full compensation during a year of suspension of operations, and with new hospitality skills to serve the returning public and corporate guests to the historic Midwest resort.  

French Lick Springs Resort suspended operations on November 20, 2005, to enable the more than $382 million resort restoration and casino construction programs to move forward swiftly, safely and ahead of the original completion schedule.  All employees received 100 percent of what they would have earned, including benefits during suspension of operations.  In addition, the resort is investing $1.8 million to provide extensive training to all employees to prepare for the resort's reopening.  

"Providing for employees financially during a period of suspension of operations and while offering extensive service training is highly unusual in our industry," said Scott Spurlock, Benchmark's general manager at the resort. "What Benchmark, Cook and Lauth are doing is quite extraordinary and extremely unique.  Employees are experiencing a chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity to have their well being provided for while receiving training in new job skills -- with all expenses being absorbed by us.  This retraining will enable us to provide our guests with the best possible service from the day we reopen our doors."
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Event and Conference Center Rendering
French Lick Springs Resort & Casino
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Benchmark Hospitality International and owners of the resort, Blue Sky - which is comprised of Orange County Holdings, LLC and Lauth Resort and Casino, LLC - are partnering with Ivy Tech Community College of Bloomington, Indiana, to train Benchmark's employees at the resort, ensuring hospitality service standards are the highest possible upon reopening the resort and its new casino.  Benchmark and Ivy Tech jointly developed the customized training curriculum, entitled "5-Star Certification."

Benchmark is providing the hospitality training, with Ivy Tech supplementing efforts through assessment tests, GED programs and other classes. Existing employees and all new employees will receive the training prior to the resort's reopening.

Upon completion, French Lick Springs Resort & Casino and its sister property located less then a mile away, West Baden Springs Resort, will collectively employ 1,400 people.  Benchmark Hospitality International manages both resorts.  

The French Lick Springs Resort & Casino is the centerpiece of a $382 million historic restoration and casino development project that includes the West Baden Springs Resort. Slated to open in December 2006, the French Lick Springs Resort & Casino will feature 443 guestrooms and suites; an 84,000-square-foot nautically themed casino; an array of dining and entertainment options; a completely refurnished spa; and two championship golf courses, one of which is the original Donald Ross PGA Championship course. With an additional 244 guestrooms, the landmark West Baden Springs Resort will offer its own golf course, spa, restaurants and related amenities. For more information on French Lick Springs Resort & Casino, visit www.frenchlick.com.   For more information on West Baden Springs Resort, visit www.westbadenresort.com.  

Benchmark Hospitality International, an independent hospitality management company based in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, operates resorts, conference centers, hotels and condominium resorts both domestically and internationally.  For locations of Benchmark Hospitality properties and for additional information, visit Benchmark's Website at www.benchmarkhospitality.com.    

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Contact:

Benchmark Hospitality International
The Woodlands (Houston), Texas
www.benchmarkhospitality.com
     
Ken Ellens
Ken Ellens Communications 
201-758-2864 / 201-758-2865-Fax
KenEllens@aol.com

Christopher Stolarski
Borshoff Johnson Matthews
317-631-6400
cstolarski@bjmpr.com
 

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Also See: Benchmark Appoints Four Executives to the Senior Leadership Team at the French Lick Springs Resort and Casino / August 2005
Benchmark Hospitality International Takes Over Management the French Lick Springs Resort / April 2005
Indiana Companies Cook Group and Lauth Group Join Forces to Develop $240 Million French Lick Casino and Resorts Project / April 2005

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