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Ameristar Casinos closes deal for Creative Casinos

Last Modified: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:16 PM

By Eric Cormier / American Press

Days before officially breaking ground on a casino-resort in Lake Charles, Ameristar representatives announced the completion of their purchase of equity interests from Creative Casinos.

The deal cost $32 million, according to Ameristar.

The company was granted Louisiana’s 15th riverboat license last month. State regulators allowed Ameristar to take over Creative Casinos’ plans to build what was to be Mojito Pointe.

Actual construction on CoAmeristar Casino Resort Spa will begin July 20, officials said. Work is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2014.

In an official statement, company CEO Gordon Kanofsky said, “We’re excited about the growth this opportunity will bring to our company, and for the thousands of construction and permanent jobs we will create in Lake Charles. In just two years, Ameristar Casino Resort Spa Lake Charles will begin serving southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas, including the Houston metropolitan area.”

Ameristar plans to invest $500 million into more than 200 acres of property that sits next to Pinnacle Entertainment’s L’Auberge Casino Resort.

Chad Beynon, a gambling analyst with Macquarie Capital in New York, told the American Press on Monday that Ameristar’s investment is important to the Lake Charles market and has investors paying attention.

“From an investment standpoint, Ameristar thinks it can get a 15 percent return on the $500 million investment. In other regional markets, that is difficult to get. Ameristar has the view that the Lake Charles market can grow in terms of revenue growth,” he said.

Beynon said Ameristar is one of the nation’s best regional gambling operators.

“Their philosophy will be to build something nice. A place where high-end players will enjoy going to the property and spend a few days and enjoy the property, similar to what Pinnacle has,” he said.

“The fact that they are building so many rooms is saying something. They are trying to make Lake Charles more of a destination for people in Texas and try to put Lake Charles on the map for people in Texas who don’t vacation there.”

Once completed, Ameristar’s property will include a 700-room hotel with 70 suites; food and beverage outlets; an 18-hole golf course; tennis courts and swimming polls; spa; and about 1,600 slot machines and 60 table games.

According to company records, Ameristar generates $1 billion yearly among its eight casino properties. On Wednesday, company officials will conduct an official groundbreaking.

Posted By: Carter On: 7/27/2012

Title: Great for economic boost!

This casino/resort is a great idea. Not only will more money, jobs, and tourism be brought to the area, but the money generated will also be allocated to McNeese and Sowela as well as several other areas that aid in the growth of Southwest Louisiana. This casino would mean more people moving to the area, meaning more money being spent, meaning more dining and retail openings to accomodate these tourists. Also, it will attract more students to McNeese so that the educated graduates will want to stay in the area, rather than migrate to larger cities with more job opportunities. As far as "family oriented" attractions, the city is in the process of developing Mardi Gras Boardwalk, Tuten Park, and the National Hurricane Museum, all of which are family oriented. Ameristar is a winner and I'm proud to see Lake Charles continue to grow.

Posted By: Lavelle On: 7/17/2012

Title: What about the kids?

I think something that drew whole families in would have made Texans, not to mention other families more than happy to come to and stay. Game room for kids, pool/water areas, maybe even go karts and the like. I really dont think we need a casino....right next to a casino...or a golf course..right next to a golf course. I Cant believe you made such a decision to change things..I wonder which pocket the money is going into due to this change. I live in Lake Charles, I know there is a need for more things that kids can do. 20 bucks and a day at a water park...that is what I would rather see!

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