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Howard Stutz

Ameristar has taxing quarter

2 August 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Las Vegas-based Ameristar Casinos said its net income in the second quarter fell a little more than 4 percent due to a state income tax matter.

The casino operator said Wednesday its earnings for the quarter that ended June 30 were $17.3 million, or 30 cents a share, compared with $18 million, or 32 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected earnings of 35 cents a share. Ameristar didn't say which state was responsible for the income tax issue, which affected earnings by $2.3 million.

Ameristar said its net revenue for the quarter increased 2.7 percent to $253.2 million from $246.6 million a year ago.

"Net revenues at each of our properties other than Kansas City outpaced the year-over-year change in its respective market. We enhanced or maintained profitability in all of our markets," Ameristar President John Boushy said.

Ameristar, which operates seven casinos in six regional markets, said it expects to complete the purchase of the company's eighth casino in September. The company plans to spend $675 million to buy the Resort East Chicago riverboat casino in Indiana.

"While we pursue our strategy to double Ameristar's (cash flow) over the next three to five years, we have been and remain disciplined in our growth plans," Ameristar Co-Chairman Gordon Kanofsky said. "We continue to be primarily focused on acquiring existing income-generating assets where the integration of the Ameristar brand and management model can significantly improve cash flow -- as we believe is the case with Resorts East Chicago. We also intend to retain financial flexibility to pursue these acquisitions and development projects to achieve our growth objectives."