Center for Gaming Research
Research Companies: Ameristar Casinos, Inc.

Ameristar Casinos, Inc. is a leading Las Vegas-based gaming and entertainment company known for its premier properties characterized by innovative architecture, state-of-the-art casino floors and superior dining, lodging and entertainment offerings. Ameristar's focus on the total entertainment experience and the highest quality guest service has earned it a leading market share position in each of the markets in which it operates.

Founded in 1954 in Jackpot, Nevada, Ameristar has been a public company since November 1993. The company has a portfolio of seven casinos: Ameristar St. Charles (greater St. Louis); Ameristar Kansas City; Ameristar Council Bluffs (Omaha, Nebraska and southwestern Iowa); Ameristar Vicksburg (Jackson, Mississippi and Monroe, Louisiana); Mountain High Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado (Denver metropolitan area); and Cactus Petes and the Horseshu in Jackpot, Nevada (Idaho and the Pacific Northwest).

Ameristar history

1954: Don French opened the Horshu Club in Jackpot, NV

1956: Cactus Petes Desert Lodge was incorporated as Cactus Petes, Inc.

1964: The management of Cactus Petes assumed leadership of The Horseshu.

1967: The corporation's ownership was restructured, bringing in three new shareholders. The new partners were Ray Neilsen from Neilsen & Miller Construction, Al Huber of Elko, Nevada and George Detweiler of Twin Falls, Idaho.

1971: Ray Neilsen died and his wife Gwen took control of his shares. Neilsen's son, Craig, assumed a leading role in the day-to-day operation of Cactus Petes.

1984: Neilsen became president of Cactus Petes, Inc.

1987: Craig Neilsen assumed sole ownership of the corporation.

1991: Cactus Petes completed a $22 million hotel and casino expansion and the property became one of the largest gaming facilities in northeast Nevada. Construction work included enlarging the casino, adding a hotel tower, restaurants and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

1993: Ameristar Casinos, Inc. was founded as the parent company of Cactus Petes and Ameristar Casino Vicksburg. Stock began trading on the NASDAQ National Market on November 9.

1994: In February, Ameristar Casino Vicksburg opened; it was the largest casino in that city and retains that distinction today.

1996: In January, Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs opened; to this day it remains the largest riverboat in the state. 

1996: Ameristar Casinos, Inc. relocated company headquarters from Twin Falls, Idaho, to its current location in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

1998: The Reserve Hotel Casino (Henderson, Nevada) opened as Ameristar Casinos' fifth property.

2000: Ameristar purchased properties in Kansas City and St. Charles, Missouri, from Station Casinos, and agreed to sell The Reserve to Station.

2001: The Reserve Hotel Casino was sold to Station Casinos.

2001: Ameristar Casino Vicksburg completed a $10 million renovation project.

2001: Ameristar Casino St. Charles began construction of a new casino-entertainment facility.

2001: Ameristar Casino Kansas City completed construction on its twin floating casinos, The River King and Queen, which join into a single 130,000 square-foot gaming facility.

2002: The all-new $360 million Ameristar Casino St. Charles opened, featuring 130,000 square feet of gaming space along with seven distinctively themed restaurants and entertainment venues. Ameristar St. Charles was the first casino in Missouri to offer "coinless gaming" technology.

2003: Following a $64 million renovation project to the casino floor and restaurants, the all-new Ameristar Kansas City was officially unveiled in Sept. 2003. This premier gaming property provides 140,000 square feet of gaming space and is one of the 10 largest casinos in the U.S.

Ameristar Casino Vicksburg opens its enhanced and rebranded Heritage Buffet restaurant after a $7 million renovation.

2004: Ameristar purchased its seventh property - Mountain High Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado, from Windsor Woodmont Black Hawk Resort Corp.

2007: Ameristar completed an acquisition of the Resorts East Chicago casino from Resorts International Holdings.

2008: Resorts East Chicago was rebranded Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago in June 2008.

2009: Ameristar completed its $235 million expansion on its Black Hawk property, featuring a 55,000 square foot facility, modeled after casino resorts in Las Vegas, NV

2012: MGM Resorts International and Ameristar announce strategic marketing partnership

2012: Ameristar purchases Creative Casinos of Louisiana, develpers of unopened Lake Charles casino project

2012: Ameristar renames under-construction Creative Casinos Lake Charles project Ameristar Casino Resort Spa Lake Charles

2013: Pinnacle Entertainment acquires Ameristar casinos for $2.8 billion.

Ameristar: Final Property Portfolio

Jackpot, Nevada

Horshu Hotel and Casino

Cactus Pete's Resort and Casino

Vicksburg, Mississippi

Ameristar Vicksburg

Council Bluffs, Iowa

Ameristar Council Bluffs

St. Charles, Missouri

Ameristar St. Charles

Kansas City, Missouri

Ameristar Kansas City

Black Hawk, Colorado

Ameristar Black Hawk

East Chicago, Indiana

Ameristar East Chicago

Ameristar: Financial Info online

Publicly-accessible sites

Yahoo company profile

InvestorGuide company profile

Ameristar investor relations

SEC filings (SEC site) | SEC filings (

Documents and downloads (including 2004 annual report)

For more detailed information, check out these databases. Note: use is restricted to current UNLV faculty, staff, and students.

Ameristar: Gaming Collection/UNLV Holdings

UNLV Gaming Collection main page

Financial filings

[full list pending]

Promotional and Public Relations materials

[full list pending]


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Last modified Tuesday, 06-Dec-2022 10:30:29 PST