Ameristar driving growth in Missouri

Aug 20, 2002 10:27 AM

Ameristar’s bet on Missouri is paying off, big time.

Just 2½ years after buying Station’s two casinos in Kansas City and St. Charles, Ameristar is leaving competitors in its wake.

"We expect they will continue to outperform the market and capture market share,’’ states Jason Ader of Bear Stearns.

Noting that results at Ameristar St. Charles (outside of St. Louis) were running ahead of his expectations, Ader calls the Las Vegas company’s two properties "the best performers in Missouri."

In July, gaming revenues at Ameristar Kanas City were up 13.7 percent over last year to $18.7 million. The St. Charles property was up 17.3 percent to $14.4 million ”” the only St. Louis area casino to record an increase.

Only Harrah’s Kansas City posted a higher win per patron, but Ameristar is catching up there, too (currently $62.68 vs. $57.94). Ameristar’s share of that five-casino market is up nearly 40 percent while Harrah’s added less than 7 percent.

Year to date, Ameristar’s two casinos generated gaming revenues of $215 million. Not bad for a $475 million investment. And Ameristar upped the ante this month with a major expansion in St. Charles, including a new 130,000-square-foot casino, 3,300 slots, 95 table games and one of just two poker rooms in the St. Louis area. Station primed the pump by laying out $170 million on the addition before abandoning the project and selling out.