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Ameristar, Harrah's Continue With Iowa West Racing Association Until 2010

18 October 2002

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – (Press Release) -- Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs, Inc. and Iowa West Racing Association (IWRA) have signed an amended and restated riverboat license sponsorship agreement for a term expiring in 2010. The agreement, which was approved today at the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission in Bettendorf, extends the parties' eight-year relationship. The commission also approved an amendment to the sponsorship agreement between Harrah's Casino Hotel (NYSE: HET) in Council Bluffs and IWRA to conform with some of the provisions included in the Ameristar agreement. Iowa law requires casino operations to operate under the sponsorship of local non-profit organizations.

"Our partnership with Ameristar and Harrah's has been a good one for us and for the community, ", said Charles Smith, IWRA President. "This is both an historical and exciting day for our entire area," he added.

Ed Fasulo, general manager of Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs, states, "We are extremely pleased that we have concluded a long term agreement with Iowa West that not only continues the financial support of the Iowa West Foundation, but also will lead to the expansion and diversification of the Iowa West Board of Directors."

"Our relationship with Iowa West has made a positive difference in Council Bluffs and surrounding communities," said Pete Weien, Harrah's General Manager. "We're excited that it will continue," he added.

Ameristar and Harrah's pay fees to IWRA, which funds the Iowa West Foundation. The Foundation has distributed $95 million through 954 grants to area charities and government entities, including the Council Bluffs Library, Mid-America Center, Council Bluffs Senior Center, Southwest Iowa Performing Arts Center, life saving equipment for fire departments throughout southwest Iowa and many school-related projects. Under the agreements, Ameristar and Harrah's will each have a representative on the Foundation's grant application review committee. The fee structure will be similar to the current contract, which provides approximately $8 million to $10 million to IWRA annually. The fees are based on the adjusted gross revenue of each riverboat.

Local civic leaders, who were developing a greyhound racetrack after a pari-mutuel betting law passed that year, founded the Iowa West Racing Association in 1983. In 1994, Iowa expanded gaming, and IWRA became the license sponsor for Ameristar and Harrah's, as well as continuing to be the license holder for Bluffs Run. IWRA is a non-profit organization with a volunteer board of local citizens.

Ameristar Casinos, Inc. (Nasdaq: ASCA) is an innovative, Las Vegas-based gaming and entertainment company known for its distinctive, quality conscious hotel-casinos and value orientation. Led by President and Chief Executive Officer Craig H. Neilsen, the organization's roots go back nearly five decades to a tiny roadside casino in the high plateau country that borders Idaho and Nevada. Publicly held since November 1993, the corporation owns and operates six properties in Nevada, Missouri, Iowa and Mississippi. Ameristar Common Stock is traded on the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol: ASCA. Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs, (ACCBI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Ameristar Casinos, Inc. opened in January 1996. Featuring architecture reminiscent of a gateway river town, the resort complements the region with a distinctive presence and offers culinary, gaming and lodging services. Ameristar is the largest riverboat in Iowa, as well as the state's only American Automobile Association (AAA) Four Diamond rated casino hotel. It employs approximately 1,250 people.

Founded 65 years ago, Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. is the most recognized and respected name in the casino entertainment industry. Publicly traded on the NYSE under HET, Harrah's operates 26 casinos in the United States primarily under the Harrah's name. Harrah's goal is to provide great customer service in exciting and entertaining environments to become the first choice for casino entertainment. Harrah's concentrates on building loyalty and value for its customers, shareholders, employees, business partners, and communities by being the most service-oriented, technology-driven, geographically-diversified company in gaming. Harrah's Code of Commitment seeks to promote responsible gaming among Harrah's customers, and codifies the company's commitment to employees and the communities where Harrah's casinos are located. Harrah's employs approximately 1,200 in Council Bluffs.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission regulates gaming in Iowa. The Commission unanimously approved the agreements at their meeting today, Thursday, October 17th.

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