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Argosy Gambles on Expansion

By Jeff Hwang - Updated Nov 16, 2016 at 5:03PM

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A $75-million expansion project will improve Argosy's offering in Kansas City.

Fresh off the success of a $105-million renovation and expansion project at its Kansas City casino, Argosy Gaming (NYSE:AGY) announced earlier this week plans for another $75-million expansion to further improve its offering at the property.

In December, Argosy completed the initial expansion project, replacing a claustrophobic, multi-level riverboat with a 60,000-square-foot, single-level barge and Mediterranean-themed casino. The result is one of the most attractive interiors of any casino I've ever seen.

The latest plan calls for the addition of a 250-room hotel, as well as a brand new 1,400-space parking garage. The hotel, expected to open in the second quarter of 2007, will better position Argosy to hit the high end of the market. The new parking garage is slated for completion in the third quarter of 2005, and will hopefully improve on the cramped and accident-provoking design of the existing garage.

This is not the only good news. Through the first five months since the new barge opened, the Argosy Riverside has cornered its side of the Kansas City market, stealing market share from Harrah's Entertainment (NYSE:HET). While Ameristar Casino's (NASDAQ:ASCA) own recently renovated property has increased its market lead, Argosy has clearly separated itself from Isle of Capri (NASDAQ:ISLE) at the bottom of the ladder.

Kansas City Gaming

Casino 2003* 2004*

Market
Share

Ameristar 85.6M 97.5M 34.2%
Harrah's 88.6M 79.8M 28.0%
Argosy 40.3M 63.3M 22.2%
Isle of Capri 42.4M 44.1M 15.5%

Total

256.9M 284.7M


* Through first five months

In April, I paid my second visit to the Argosy Riverside, on the way up to Omaha for the Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) annual shareholders meeting. Aside from the parking garage, my only real gripe was the train track guarding the entrance, which by some freak coincidence (I hope) delayed both my entry and exit.

The blackjack offerings were reasonable and un-insulting (see Casinos Get Greedy), with plenty of double-deck games. The casino could probably use a few more penny slots from the likes of International Game Technology (NYSE:IGT) and WMS Industries (NYSE:WMS), however.

But in all, the new product looks very impressive, and the continued expansion at Argosy Riverside will help solidify its position as a leader among the riverboat pureplays.

Fool contributor Jeff Hwang owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Ameristar Casinos, and International Game Technology.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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Stocks Mentioned

International Game Technology Stock Quote
International Game Technology
IGT
$25.07 (-7.22%) $-1.95
Ameristar Casinos Inc. Stock Quote
Ameristar Casinos Inc.
ASCA.DL

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