One of the newer properties in the Boyd Gaming family reached a major milestone in May.
Ameristar Casino Resort Spa St. Charles, acquired by the Company in October of last year, celebrated its 25th anniversary. The Missouri destination, which serves St. Charles, Mo., and the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, is home to a 130,000-square-foot casino — one of the nation’s largest — that features more than 2,000 slot and video poker machines, high-limit slots and table games, a new Baccarat pit, 58 table games and live poker.
Ameristar St. Charles opened in 1994 as a small riverboat casino and has evolved into the largest tourist attraction in the great state of Missouri. The property attracts an average of 5.5 million visitors a year.
“Thinking back on those days 25 years ago when we were just a floating, cruising riverboat up and down the Missouri River, to today, when we’ve evolved into so much more than that,” said Ameristar St. Charles Senior Vice President and General Manager Ward Shaw, addressing team members in a video to commemorate the anniversary. “(There are) almost 1,700 team members today at Ameristar St. Charles. It is thanks to the great work of our team members that we have evolved into a market leader in St. Louis, a market leader in the state of Missouri and the most-visited attraction in the entire state.”
Over the 25 years of its existence, $4.2 million has been donated, with the help of team members, to local charities in the greater St. Louis area, Shaw said. The casino resort has also had a significant impact in the local economy, infusing more than $282 million in St. Charles since 1994.
“And maybe most importantly, (there has been) $1.1 billion in total team member compensation over those 25 years,” Shaw said, “Our team members, have been a key part in all of that.”
The gaming industry in Missouri was largely uncharted waters when the riverboat casino first hit the river.
Ameristar St. Charles team members interviewed for a commemorative video posted to YouTube, reminiscing the early years of Ameristar St. Charles and what it was like to operate the original riverboat destination.
Much has changed in the past quarter-century.
Today, the Ameristar St. Charles is a 52-acre resort situated about 10 minutes from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. An all-suite hotel, a full-service luxury spa, and an indoor-outdoor pool were added in 2008. The property’s structures were designed to emulate St. Charles’ unique architectural style. The casino resort also boasts 11 premier restaurants and bars, two distinct nightlife destinations, including RYSE Nightclub and Bottleneck Blues Bar and more than 20,000-square-feet of meeting and convention space. In August and September, the resort will also, for the first time, host a World Series of Poker event.
In the commemorative video, Ameristar St. Charles team members discuss the close-knit friendships they have formed throughout the past 25 years. Many echoed the sentiments of dealer Nancy Mueller.
“If you had told me 25 years ago that I would be at the same place, at the same job, doing the same thing, I’d have told you (that) you were crazy,” Mueller said in the video. “But I really am having a hard time trying to decide whether to retire or not. I truly enjoy working here.”