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Ameristar Opens African Safari-Themed Casino Near Vegas

12 February 1998

For those arguing with their spouses over whether to spend their vacations in Africa or Las Vegas, there's a way to compromise... Okay, so it's missing a few minor details when it comes to authenticity, but the Reserve Hotel Casino is an impressive sight.

The Reserve, the Las Vegas area's newest casino, celebrated its grand opening on Tuesday night, February 10, with a VIP party, followed immediately by a fireworks extravaganza at 10 p.m. After the fireworks, the casino opened to the public.

The African safari-themed hotel and casino in Henderson, Nev., marks Ameristar Casinos Inc.'s first Las Vegas-area property.

A conga drum procession officially launched the evening's festivities. Then, during a symbolic "vine cutting" ceremony, Nevada Gov. Bob Miller's representative Catherine Cortez , Henderson Mayor Jim Gibson and Ameristar executives delivered opening remarks.

Guests were invited to taste an extensive selection of dishes from the property's four signature restaurants, while listening to the African beat of featured entertainers OJ Ekemode and the Nigerian All-Stars. Other entertainment groups also performed throughout the casino. At 10 p.m. the world-renowned Fireworks by Grucci company orchestrated an elaborate display to mark the property's public grand opening.

"We are extremely pleased with the highly anticipated opening of The Reserve and are dedicated to our role as a good corporate citizen of the Henderson/Las Vegas area," said Craig H. Neilsen, president and CEO, Ameristar Casinos. "We look forward to establishing ourselves as a valued, integral member of the community."

Designed by Henry Conversano, designer of The Mirage Hotel Casino in Las Vegas and the Lost City at Sun City Resort Hotel and Casino in Sun City, South Africa, The Reserve incorporates its theme into every facet of the property and offers many unique design elements.

The vivid safari theme, first evident in the grand palace facade featuring a sequence of exquisitely detailed painted murals depicting African wildlife in natural surroundings, comes to life as guests step inside the casino and begin a journey into the heart of Africa. While on an exhilarating and intimate safari adventure, guests will traverse from the lush, exotic rainforest to the windswept plains of the Serengeti.

The property features four signature restaurants. The Grand Safari Buffet includes live exhibition cooking at its seven distinctive stations. An extensive menu of Chinese and California-style cuisine can be found at Congo Jack's Cafe. Pasta Mombasa Italian Eatery provides a taste of Italy with pasta handmade daily by the chefs. Great steaks and fresh seafood are prepared to perfection at Wildfire Steaks & Seafood.

Guests can also gather at one of three unique watering holes. Wasimbas features live entertainment and a dynamic multimedia wall showing life-size videos. Monsoon Mary's provides exotic, tropical beverages under the shelter of monsoon mists. The third is the Funky Monkey Bar, where everyone can "get into the swing of things."

The African scenery continues at The Reserve's 37,000-square-foot action-packed casino. Featured are 26 gaming tables, including blackjack, poker, roulette and craps, and more than 1,450 state-of-the-art slot machines. Plus they've got a sports book, keno and bingo and "Club Reserve," the first players club in Las Vegas to offer the convenience of self-comping directly from any slot machine.

Additional information is available at Ameristar's Web site at For reservations, call 702/567-7777.

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