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Ameristar Casinos to Report Better Than Expected First Quarter Results

3 April 2000

LAS VEGAS, Nevada, April 3 (Press Release) - Ameristar Casinos, Inc. (Nasdaq: ASCA) today announced it expects to report diluted earnings per share in excess of $0.14 for the quarter ended March 31, 2000, compared to analyst consensus estimates of $0.03 per share and compared to a loss per share of $0.01 in the first quarter of 1999.

Consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) is expected to be approximately $18.0 million, an increase of approximately 45% over the 1999 first quarter. EBITDA improvements at the Company's individual properties are expected to range from 19% to 53%, with Ameristar Council Bluffs and Ameristar Vicksburg reporting the strongest performances.

Consolidated revenues are expected to exceed the first quarter of 1999 by more than 14%. The expected increases are attributable to improved operating performance at each of the Company's casino properties.

Ameristar operates five casino-hotels in four markets in Iowa, Mississippi and Nevada. "The capital investment in our properties begun in 1999 is now beginning to pay strong dividends, significantly enhancing our profitability," said President and CEO Craig H. Neilsen. "With the opening of the third deck of the casino and a parking garage at Council Bluffs, expansion of the casino and parking, and the introduction of a new steakhouse at Vicksburg, the purchase of new slot products and various other improvements at our properties, we expect to reach record levels for both revenues and EBITDA for the first quarter of 2000. Both of our Nevada properties have also been strong contributors to our improved performance. We expect this trend to continue through the end of 2000 due to our recently completed projects and continued enhancements at our existing properties."

Ameristar also announced that it has recently filed with the Missouri Gaming Commission a supplement to its pending gaming license application for the development of the first casino in South St. Louis County. The application supplement includes a commitment letter from Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. for a new $265.0 million revolving line of credit. This bank commitment represents more than a doubling of the Company's current bank credit facilityand will provide a substantial portion of the financing for the Lemay project.

The balance of the financing will be funded primarily out of operating cash flow from existing properties. The application supplement also includes the previously announced definitive agreement for the Company's acquisition of a leasehold interest in the proposed casino site along the Mississippi River in Lemay, MO.

The preliminary master plan for the Ameristar Casino St. Louis at Lemay project includes a dockside casino with approximately 70,000 square feet of gaming space and more than 2,300 gaming positions, three restaurants with seating for a total of approximately 750 to 800 guests and covered and surface parking for at least 2,300 vehicles.

The plan also calls for a 150-room hotel adjacent to the casino to be built by a strategic partner. "We are extremely pleased that our long-time commercial lender, Wells Fargo Bank, has once again demonstrated its confidence in Ameristar by extending a new loan commitment to us, as it has done for each of our expansion projects," said Mr. Neilsen. "We believe the Lemay project represents an outstanding opportunity for the continuing growth of Ameristar."

Ameristar Casinos, Inc., a publicly traded company with a strong background in the gaming and hospitality industry dating back to 1954, owns and operates Cactus Petes Resort Casino and The Horseshu Hotel & Casino in Jackpot, Nevada, Ameristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Ameristar Casino Hotel Council Bluffs in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and The Reserve Hotel Casino in Henderson, Nevada in metropolitan Las Vegas.

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