Former Ameristar Casino Nightclub Booker Says She Was Told to Avoid ‘All Black’ Entertainment Events

Posted on: March 22, 2019, 11:34h. 

Last updated on: March 22, 2019, 11:34h.

A former Ameristar Casino executive in charge of booking entertainment events at the St. Charles, Missouri, resort says her employer told her to avoid bringing shows and concerts that primarily attracted African Americans.

Ameristar Casino Missouri concert calendar
A former event booker at the Ameristar Casino in Missouri says she was told to discriminate against certain acts. (Image: David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Kim Carpenter charges in a lawsuit against parent company Boyd Gaming that she was advised to refrain from booking nightclub events that involved “primarily black people.” She is suing on grounds of sexual and racial discrimination.

Originally filed in the St. Charles County Circuit Court, the case was moved to federal court this week. Attorneys on her behalf say she complained to management about the event directives last year, but was then abruptly terminated.

The Riverfront Times says casino managers told her she was not a “good cultural fit.” Her firing came despite Boyd Gaming giving her a “substantial bonus” and positive performance revenue just a month earlier, her lawsuit claims.

The Ameristar Casino St. Charles is one of 13 riverboats in Missouri. Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming – a casino operator that specializes in regional gaming venues – acquired the property from Pinnace Entertainment last year.

St. Charles is just west of St. Louis and is home to around 70,000 people. The US Census Bureau says 5.9 percent of the city’s population are African Americans.

Coming Attractions

Casinos rely as much on their entertainment calendars as their gaming floors in generating revenue and visitation. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reports that 59 percent of all guests to Southern Nevada in 2017 attended a show of some kind.

A look at the Ameristar Casino St. Charles event calendar shows that the property’s Bottleneck Blues Bar is featuring a trivia night every Thursday, “Dueling Pianos” every Friday, and “Weekend Rocks” every weekend. Boyd Gaming says there is no evidence that Carpenter was told to avoid acts that primarily appeal to African Americans.

“We strongly dispute these allegations,” attorneys representing Boyd Gaming said this week. “However, given that this matter is the subject of pending litigation, we cannot comment further at this time.”

Casino Discrimination

Carpenter’s lawsuit against Boyd Gaming isn’t the only recent legal case against a casino operator on grounds of discrimination.

Last month, a former worker at the Rivers Casino & Resort in Upstate New York sued the casino operator on allegations of religious discrimination. Roma Spady – a 57-year-old African American Muslim – said she was let go for refusing to remove her hijab while working as a housekeeper.

In response to the sexual misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn, the Nevada Gaming Control Board overhauled its reporting policies and procedures last year. Casinos are now required to complete and submit an annual 16-point checklist assuring the state that it’s following appropriate protocols to combat such illegal actions.

“The Nevada Gaming Control Board recognizes the paramount importance of all Nevada gaming licensees creating and maintaining a work environment that is safe for all employees, one in which diversity, inclusion and the dignity of each employee is respected, and which is free from any form of discrimination or harassment,” the NGCB said in a statement.