SOURCE: Ameristar Casinos, Inc.

Ameristar Casinos, Inc.

March 14, 2012 09:00 ET

Ameristar Casinos Announces Agreement to Acquire Developer of Casino Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana

LAS VEGAS, NV--(Marketwire - Mar 14, 2012) - Ameristar Casinos, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASCA) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the equity interests of Creative Casinos of Louisiana, L.L.C. ("Creative") from Creative Casinos, LLC. Creative is the developer of a proposed luxury casino resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which it planned to brand as Mojito Pointe. This is the last remaining riverboat gaming license available in Louisiana under current law. The acquisition is subject to the approval by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board on March 15, 2012 of an extension of the deadline for Creative to commence construction of the property to July 20, 2012 and of certain design and scope changes that Ameristar believes will enhance the competitiveness of the property.

The purchase price payable upon closing of the acquisition is $32.5 million (inclusive of a $1 million deposit payable following approval of the construction extension). Closing of the purchase is subject to a number of customary conditions, including regulatory approval and certain third-party consents.

The resort will be developed on a 242-acre site under a lease from the Lake Charles Harbor & Terminal District adjacent to the existing L'Auberge du Lac Casino Resort. Concept drawings for the project as designed by Creative are substantially complete, excluding the interior fit-out, and Creative has entered into a guaranteed maximum price construction contract for the project.

As proposed by Ameristar, the resort will include a casino with approximately 1,600 slot machines and 60 table games, a hotel with at least 700 guest rooms (including 70 suites), a variety of food and beverage outlets, an 18-hole golf course, a swimming pool and spa and other resort amenities, and at least 3,000 parking spaces, 1,000 or more of which will be in a garage. Ameristar's plans represent a significant expansion of Creative's design, which contemplated a 400-room hotel (including 30 suites) and a garage with 400 parking spaces. The existing license conditions require Creative to invest at least $400 million in the casino project, including the development of a showroom facility that Ameristar is proposing to eliminate. In seeking the approval of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, Ameristar is proposing an increase in the minimum investment commitment to $500 million. Ameristar expects to open the resort in mid-2014.

"We believe the development of this project, which will cater to patrons from the large and growing Houston metropolitan area as well as other southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana communities, represents an excellent opportunity for Ameristar's growth and diversification. By bringing our best-in-class approach to casino development and the guest experience to one of the country's largest but most under-served gaming markets, we believe we can create incremental value for our shareholders as well as economic development and jobs for the Lake Charles community," said Gordon Kanofsky, Ameristar's Chief Executive Officer. "We look forward to sharing our vision for our Lake Charles resort with the Louisiana Gaming Control Board as we seek its approval to allow us to move forward with this project."

Forward-Looking Information
This release contains certain forward-looking information that generally can be identified by the context of the statement or the use of forward-looking terminology, such as "believes," "estimates," "anticipates," "intends," "expects," "plans," "is confident that," "will," "would," "should," "could" or words of similar meaning, with reference to Ameristar or our management. Similarly, statements that describe our future plans, objectives, strategies, financial results or position, operational expectations or goals are forward-looking statements. It is possible that our expectations may not be met due to various factors, many of which are beyond our control, and we therefore cannot give any assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. For a discussion of relevant factors, risks and uncertainties that could materially affect our future results, attention is directed to "Item 1A. Risk Factors" and "Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011.

About Ameristar

Ameristar Casinos is an innovative casino gaming company featuring the newest and most popular slot machines. Our 7,500 dedicated team members pride themselves on delivering consistently friendly and appreciative service to our guests. We continuously strive to increase the loyalty of our guests through the quality of our slot machines, table games, hotel, dining and other leisure offerings. Our eight casino hotel properties primarily serve guests from Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska and Nevada. We have been a public company since 1993, and our stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. We generate more than $1 billion in net revenues annually.

Visit Ameristar Casinos' web site at (which shall not be deemed to be incorporated in or a part of this news release).

Contact Information

    Tom Steinbauer
    Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
    Ameristar Casinos, Inc.