Interest rate add-on for all revolving loans and term loans will increase 1.25 percentage points

Las Vegas-based Ameristar Casinos Inc., operators of eight casino in seven markets,  announced that it has amended its senior credit facility to provide the company with significantly greater financial flexibility. This amendment is expected to avoid an otherwise potential violation of the senior leverage ratio covenant under the credit facility in the second half of 2009.

Among other provisions, the amendment increases the company’s maximum permitted senior leverage ratio (defined as senior debt divided by EBITDA for the trailing four fiscal quarters) for all periods through the final maturity of the credit facility in November 2012, with the increases ranging from 0.50:1 to 1.25:1. The maximum permitted senior leverage ratio increases to 5.75:1 beginning in the current quarter ending March 31, 2009 through March 31, 2010, with gradual step-downs thereafter. Effective March 16, 2009, the interest rate add-on for all revolving loans and term loans under the credit facility will increase by 125 basis points (1.25 percentage points) per annum. The company’s current outstanding credit facility debt is $1.67 billion. In connection with obtaining the amendment, the company paid the credit facility lenders approximately $9 million in one-time upfront fees.

“This amendment provides us with much greater flexibility to continue to successfully operate and grow our business in these uncertain economic times,” said Gordon Kanofsky, Ameristar’s CEO and vice chairman. “We are grateful for the support of our senior lenders and believe it reflects the confidence they have in our company.” Ameristar Casinos has a portfolio of eight casinos in seven markets: Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in St. Charles (greater St. Louis); Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City; Ameristar Casino Hotel Council Bluffs (Omaha, Neb. and southwestern Iowa); Ameristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg (Jackson, Miss. and Monroe, La.); Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago (Chicagoland area); Ameristar Casino Black Hawk (Denver metropolitan area); and Cactus Petes and The Horseshu in Jackpot, Nev. (Idaho and the Pacific Northwest).