Historical Timeline


Ameristar Casinos is an innovative casino gaming company featuring the newest and most popular slot machines. Our 7,100 dedicated team members pride themselves on delivering consistently friendly and appreciative service to our guests. We continuously strive to increase the loyalty of our guests through the quality of our slot machines, table games, hotel, dining and other leisure offerings. Our eight casino hotel properties primarily serve guests from Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska and Nevada. We began construction on our ninth property, a casino resort in Lake Charles, La., in July 2012, which we expect will open in the third quarter of 2014. We have been a public company since 1993, and our stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. We generate more than $1 billion in net revenues annually.

1954 Don French moves his slot operation from Garden City, Idaho to a location lying just across the border in Nevada. "Cactus Pete" Piersanti moves his slot operation from Island Park, Idaho to Jackpot. French names his casino the Horseshu Club.
1956 The Cactus Petes Desert Lodge is incorporated as Cactus Petes, Inc. in Jackpot, Nevada, by Piersanti, A.L. "Bud" Gurley and Dale Wildman.
1958 Cactus Petes hires Neilsen & Miller Construction of Twin Falls, Idaho, to build a 15-room, single-row motel called the Desert Inn.
1964 The management of Cactus Petes assumes leadership of The Horseshu.
1967 The Horseshu's corporate ownership is restructured after the death of one of its original partners, A.L. "Bud" Gurley. The Company's new partners are Ray Neilsen from Neilsen & Miller Construction; Al Huber of Elko, Nevada; and George Detweiler of Twin Falls, Idaho.
1971 Ray Neilsen dies and his wife Gwen assumes control of his shares. Their son Craig adopts a leading role in the day-to-day operation of Cactus Petes.
1984 Craig Neilsen becomes president of Cactus Petes, Inc.
1987 Craig Neilsen assumes sole ownership of the corporation.
1991 Cactus Petes undergoes a $22 million expansion. It includes a casino expansion and the addition of a hotel tower, restaurants and Olympic-sized swimming pool. The property becomes one of the largest gaming facilities in northeast Nevada.
1992 Cactus Petes is awarded the prestigious American Automobile Association Four Diamond designation.

The future site of Ameristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg, known as Delta Pointe, is secured.
1993 Ameristar Casinos, Inc. is founded as the parent company of Cactus Petes and Ameristar Hotel Casino Vicksburg. The Company's stock begins trading on the NASDAQ National Market on November 9. Craig Neilsen assumes the titles of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
1994 Ameristar Casino Vicksburg opens in February. It is the largest casino in that city – a distinction it still enjoys today.
1995 Construction begins on the Company's fourth property, Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs.
1996 Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs opens in January. It is the largest riverboat in the state - which is still the case.

Ameristar relocates the Company headquarters from Twin Falls, Idaho, to its current location in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ameristar enters into an agreement to acquire The Reserve Hotel Casino, then under construction in Henderson, Nevada.
1998 The Reserve Hotel Casino — a fully themed, off-Strip facility — opens as Ameristar Casinos' fifth property.
1999 Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs is the only riverboat facility in the state of Iowa to receive the prestigious American Automobile Association Four Diamond designation.

Gwen Neilsen dies. She played a key role in the transition of Ameristar Casinos from a private to a publicly traded company and was instrumental in the organization's strategic expansion.
2000 Ameristar purchases properties in Kansas City and St. Charles, Missouri, from Station Casinos and agrees to sell The Reserve to Station.
2001 Ameristar Casino Vicksburg completes a $10 million renovation project.

Ameristar Casino St. Charles begins construction of a new casino-entertainment facility.

Ameristar Casino Kansas City completes a $29 million renovation project combining its two floating vessels into one single 140,000 square-foot gaming facility and adding a new five-story parking garage.

Ameristar's revenues nearly double, to $600 million.

Ameristar is ranked 14th out of Nevada's top 25 publicly traded companies by the Nevada Business Journal.
2002 The all-new $360 million Ameristar Casino St. Charles opens, featuring 130,000 square feet of gaming space along with seven distinctively themed restaurants and entertainment venues. Ameristar St. Charles is the first casino in Missouri to offer coinless ticket-in/ticket-out slot technology.

Craig Neilsen is named "Best Performing CEO" by the American Gaming Association.
2003 The all-new Ameristar Casino Kansas City is officially unveiled in September after a $64 million renovation of its casino floor and restaurants. Its eleven diverse dining venues include the $6 million Amerisports Brew Pub, with its unparalleled state-of-the-art audio-visual system.

Ameristar Casino Vicksburg opens its enhanced and rebranded Heritage Buffet restaurant after a $7 million renovation.
2004 Ameristar announces its first cash dividend.

Ameristar purchases its seventh property – Mountain High Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado – from Windsor Woodmont Black Hawk Resort Corp.
2005 Ameristar Casinos declares a 2-for-1 stock split.
2006 The Ameristar brand debuts in Black Hawk, Colorado after an $80 million renovation and expansion project that includes additional covered parking. Details of its planned 33-story hotel and spa are announced.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Craig H. Neilsen passes away at his home in Las Vegas. He leaves a lasting impact on the lives of many others through his generosity and community spirit. Under his guidance, the Company grows from the two original Nevada properties to seven properties in Nevada, Mississippi, Iowa, Missouri and Colorado.
2007 Ameristar completes its acquisition of Resorts East Chicago from Resorts International Holdings, LLC, giving the Company a major presence in the nation's third-largest commercial gaming market.
2008 Ameristar Director Gordon R. Kanofsky named Chief Executive Officer.

Ameristar Team Members, both individually and with Company and foundation matches, contribute more than $3 million to local charities in Ameristar communities through Ameristar's 2007 Workplace Giving Campaign. Contributions surpass the year before by about 25 percent.

Ameristar opens its Casino Resort Spa complex in St. Charles, Missouri. The property's $275 million expansion includes a luxury all-suite hotel and day spa; an indoor/outdoor pool area; a 20,000-square-foot conference and meeting center and a second five-story covered parking garage.

Ameristar completes a $100 million expansion of Ameristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg that includes a new 1,000-space parking garage, the market's only live poker room, a casino expansion and renovation, an upscale VIP Star Club lounge and two themed restaurants. The property's 149-room hotel is also renovated.

The Company rebrands Resorts East Chicago as Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago. The new name marks the completion of a number of enhancements to the facility, including $30 million in renovations to its casino floor, pavilion and restaurants.

Voters in Missouri approve regulatory reform that removes the state's buy-in limit and eliminates the player identification card requirement. It also caps the number of casino licenses at 13 statewide.

Voters in Colorado approve Amendment 50, which allows increasing single-bet limits from $5 to $100, operating the casino 24 hours daily (from an 18-hour-a-day limit) and adding the games of craps and roulette.
2009 Ameristar officially opens its new Casino Resort Spa complex in Black Hawk to become the first destination resort casino in Colorado. The property's $230 million expansion includes a 33-story luxury hotel and day spa, an enclosed rooftop swimming pool and 15,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

Ameristar St. Charles becomes the first St. Charles hotel to earn the prestigious American Automobile Association Four Diamond designation.

Team Members and the Company contribute more than $7 million to community organizations where the eight properties are located.
2010 Ameristar announces plans to renovate all of Ameristar East Chicago's 280 superior guest rooms and 10 luxury suites. This will be the first refurbishment to the hotel since its opening in 2001.
2012 Ameristar completes a $6.2 million renovation of its Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago's 288 rooms and suites.

Ameristar and MGM Resorts International announce a strategic marketing relationship for the companies' rewards programs – MGM Resorts' M life and Ameristar’s mychoice/Plateau Players Club.

Ameristar announces that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the equity interests of Creative Casinos of Louisiana, L.L.C. ("Creative") from Creative Casinos, LLC. Creative is the developer of a proposed luxury casino resort in Lake Charles, La.

Ameristar breaks ground on its ninth casino, Ameristar Casino Resort Spa Lake Charles, La. The resort complex, which includes a 700-room luxury hotel with 70 suites, an 18-hole golf course, a tennis club, swimming pools, and a spa will open third quarter 2014.

Cactus Petes completes a $7 million renovation of its Granite Range Hotel 89 rooms and suites.