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Ameristar Casinos may put self up for sale

Updated Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010 | 1:55 p.m.

Las Vegas-based casino operator Ameristar Casinos said Wednesday that its board of directors is evaluating options that include the possible sale of the company.

The company also said in a press release today that it has hired Lazard and Bank of America Merrill Lynch as its financial advisers to assist the board of directors in its decision.

Ameristar said it doesn't plan to disclose more information until the board of directors determines that there is a material need to update the market.

The casino operator owns eight regional casinos in Jackpot, Nev., Indiana, Colorado, Missouri, Iowa and Mississippi.

Earlier Wednesday, the New York Post reported a source with direct knowledge of the situation said Lazard had already begun to contact potential bidders for the Ameristar sale.

Last week, Ameristar reported a net loss of $24.9 million, or 43 cents per share, compared with a profit of $14.3 million, or 25 cents per share last year. The company said the loss was primarily due to a permanent bridge closure that limited access to its East Chicago property and new competition in the St. Louis market.

The company recently opened a 536-room hotel and spa in September 2009 at its Black Hawk, Colo., casino, where revenues increased by 82 percent during the second quarter of 2010.

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