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Ameristar Casinos Reports UK Casino Plans

14 December 2004

LAS VEGAS – (PRESS RELEASE) -- Ameristar Casinos, Inc. (Nasdaq: ASCA) today announced plans to develop a regional destination casino-hotel and entertainment facility as part of a major regeneration project at the West Quay in Southampton, England. In conjunction with Bravo Network Limited, the Council's preferred developer of the site, Ameristar will seek one of the eight regional casino licenses expected to be available upon the anticipated 2005 adoption of new United Kingdom gambling laws. If approved, Ameristar will develop a first-class regional destination consisting of the casino, a variety of dining and entertainment venues, a 200-room 4-star luxury hotel and conference facility and other leisure amenities. Bravo will develop an 8,000-seat state-of-the-art multi-purpose indoor arena with an Olympic-size ice rink and an additional leisure ice rink for community ice skating.

The Southampton City Council has selected Bravo as the arena developer and Bravo has introduced Ameristar to ensure the deliverability of the multi-purpose arena and leisure ice skating facilities, which are dependent on considerable investment. The project's GBP 240 million budget will be allocated between Ameristar and Bravo, including a substantial contribution by Ameristar toward the arena and leisure ice facilities.

"Ameristar is pleased to participate in the regeneration of Southampton's West Quay," said Craig H. Neilsen, Ameristar's Chairman and CEO. "This project will bring an outstanding new entertainment outlet to Southampton and southeastern England, greatly complementing the city center's existing retail and leisure offerings. It will also stimulate the local economy through capital investment, the creation of approximately 1,200 quality jobs and the purchase of millions of Pounds of goods and services from local and regional businesses."

At yesterday's Southampton Council Cabinet meeting, Council Leader Adrian Vinson issued a statement regarding the development and the pursuit of a regional casino license. The statement is included in its entirety at the end of this release.

Jim Brathwaite, Chairman of the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), said: "The South East England Development Agency welcomes this major investment proposal for Southampton and the commitment Bravo and Ameristar have made to it. The regeneration of the region's town and city centres is a key priority for SEEDA and the combination of leisure activities proposed on this site is both innovative and complementary to other regeneration activity currently taking place in Southampton."

Ameristar's portion of the development, which underpins the regeneration of this city-center site that has laid vacant for years, is proposed to include: Approximately 65,000 square feet of casino space housing 80 table games and 1,250 slot machines, with the potential for future expansion.

* A diverse mix of dining and entertainment outlets available to casino guests as well as other patrons.

* A luxury hotel, overlooking the water and housed in an iconic tower designed to mark the city's waterfront location in accordance with the city's overall master plan for the West Quay site.

* Approximately 20,000 square feet of conference facilities with state-of-the-art technological capabilities.

* An indoor swimming pool together with full-service luxury spa facilities.

Ameristar will develop this project consistent with the first class approach for which it is well known in the United States, where its facilities are recognized for their high quality design, construction and guest service. Bravo's 8,000-seat multi-purpose arena will also tout the most current technology to house sporting events, concerts and other special events. The total project cost is estimated at approximately GBP 240 million ($445 million). Ameristar's costs are estimated at approximately GBP 195 million ($360 million), including its contribution towards the construction of the arena and leisure ice facilities.

Completion of the project is contingent on the receipt of planning approval, the passage of new gambling legislation currently being considered by the UK Parliament and the receipt of a regional casino license under such legislation.

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 five markets in which it operates. Founded in 1954 in Jackpot, Nevada, Ameristar has been a public company since 1993.

The company has a portfolio of six 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); and Cactus Petes and the Horseshu in Jackpot, Nevada (Idaho and the Pacific Northwest). In late December 2004, the company expects to complete the acquisition of a seventh casino in Black Hawk, Colorado, serving the greater Denver area.

Visit Ameristar Casinos' Web site at

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