CHESTER, W.Va. (AP) ¿ Casino operator MTR Gaming Group Inc. reported a second-quarter profit of $352,000, or 1 cent per share, and said Wednesday that cost-containment efforts helped boost pretax earnings by about 10 percent.

The gain for the quarter ended June 30 compares with a loss of $2.3 million, or 8 cents per share, in the same period last year, the company said.

The results also reflect the discontinuation of four properties: Running Aces Harness Park in Minnesota; Jackson Harness Raceway in Michigan; and the Ramada Inn and Speedway Casino, and Binion's Gambling Hall & Hotel in Nevada.

Net revenues at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in Chester were down 4 percent for the quarter, mainly because of bad economic conditions, said MTR President and CEO Robert Griffin. The Northern Panhandle casino reported $72.2 million in net revenue for the second quarter, compared with $75.4 million in the same period last year.

MTR hopes to improve those results by taking advantage of nontaxable promotional credits approved by West Virginia legislators. That program will begin in September, Griffin said.

Net revenue was down 2 percent at Presque Isle Downs & Casino near Erie, Pa., from $48.9 million last year to $47.8 million in the most recent quarter.

Overall, Griffin says layoffs and other cost-containment efforts helped MTR boost earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization by 10 percent. EBIDTA from continuing operations was $19.9 million, compared with $18 million in the same period last year.

The company said that result includes $167,000 in severance costs and $350,000 for lobbying and other efforts to get slot machines approved for Ohio racetracks.

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