Issue 224
December 27, 2004 - January 2, 2005
Volume 4
page 1
 

This Issue

Gaming News

Ameristar Completes Purchase of Mountain High Casino in Black Hawk

Venice gaming club defies county order

Family Entertainment Coming to Black Oak Casino

Sensi Restaurant Opens in Bellagio

Show Time Velvet Revolver Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas.

Column Gambling Grade School - Part 1 by Frank Scoblete

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Ameristar Completes Purchase of Mountain High Casino in Black Hawk

Ameristar Casinos, Inc. announced today that it has completed the acquisition of Mountain High Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado. The transaction adds the largest casino in Colorado to Ameristar's portfolio and increases the company's geographic diversification.

Ameristar acquired the property from Windsor Woodmont Black Hawk Resort Corp., which was operating as debtor-in-possession in a Chapter 11 case before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado. The purchase price was approximately $117 million in cash, plus the issuance of 58,943 shares of Ameristar's common stock valued at $2.5 million.

Ameristar intends to invest approximately $90 million in capital expenditures to improve the competitiveness of the property. The capital improvements include reconfiguring and expanding the gaming area, introducing cashless slot technology and other gaming equipment upgrades, constructing a 300-room AAA Four Diamond-quality hotel and additional covered parking, upgrading the food and beverage outlets and adding a casual dining restaurant. All of these improvements are expected to be completed during 2005, with the exception of the hotel, which is expected to be completed by early 2007.

The company plans to rebrand the property as Ameristar Black Hawk once the first phase of enhancements is complete. As with all Ameristar properties, Ameristar Black Hawk will offer a state-of-the-art gaming floor, a wide range of high-quality dining and entertainment venues and outstanding guest service.

"We are excited to complete the acquisition of Mountain High Casino," said Craig H. Neilsen, Chairman and CEO of Ameristar. "Mountain High is a high-quality property with an excellent location in one of the major gaming markets in the United States. We are eager to begin our enhancement and expansion plans for the property immediately. The acquisition will not impact our ability to continue our cash dividend policy or to pursue other development opportunities."

Mountain High Casino is an upscale gaming and entertainment facility located in the center of the Black Hawk gaming district, approximately 40 miles west of Denver. The 425,000 square-foot facility includes a 57,000 square-foot casino with approximately 1,000 slot machines and 24 table games (including poker). In addition, the property features a steak and seafood restaurant, a buffet and food court, a 5,000 square-foot entertainment showroom that seats approximately 500 people and a parking garage with space for approximately 800 vehicles, among other amenities.


Venice gaming club defies county order
from the Florida Herald Tribune

VENICE -- Defying Sarasota County zoning laws and facing $250 a day in fines, a South Venice gaming club has refused to shut its doors.

Fatboys Gaming Room, at 803 U.S. 41 Bypass, remains open despite being denied a certificate of occupancy, which is required for all businesses operating in the county.

Fatboys was among four Southern Sarasota County clubs that last month lost a lawsuit seeking to force the county to grant them certificates of occupancy.

The three other clubs -- Jackpot 777 in Nokomis, and Player's Club and Player's Paradise in Englewood -- have closed. The clubs were denied licenses because the county contends that they violate Florida's gambling laws.

Bob Gentry, lead code-enforcement officer for Sarasota County, said a tax lien has been placed against Fatboys and the county could foreclose on the establishment next year. Fatboys owner R.J. Smith said he was unaware that his club was being fined $250 a day. "Nobody has sent us a letter," he said. "This is the first I've heard of it."

Gentry, the county code-enforcement officer, responded: "I'm surprised he doesn't know about it. The fine runs until the business comes into compliance, which it hasn't done."

It was business as usual Tuesday morning at Fatboys, where about a half-dozen customers played video poker and slot machines.

Although county zoning officers have likened the clubs to "mini-casinos," Fatboys hardly resembles anything on the Vegas strip.

A table covered with packs of potato chips and honey buns is in the middle of the dimly lit club, dividing rows of video slot machines. Instead of paying off in cash, Fatboys offers Visa and Wal-Mart gift certificates up to $400.

Almost everyone in the club Tuesday morning was over the age of 65.

"Nobody is burning through their retirement savings here," said one customer. "I don't see what the problem is."

Smith, the owner, said he wished the county would just leave him alone.

"We're not doing anything wrong," he said. "We're not hurting anyone."

But Venice City Manager Marty Black credited the county for taking action against the clubs.

"Our police force been very supportive of what the county is doing," Black said. "There are serious concerns about the activities at these establishments."

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