Colorado casinos are now able to set their own gambling limits instead of going by state law.
Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek have no-limit betting starting Saturday, May 1. Most casinos are expected to adopt limits between $500 and $1,000 per wager but could allow higher amounts approaching $2,500 for their best customers, The Gazette reports.
This betting limit is all part of amendment 77, which was approved by Colorado voters in November, voters in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek and the city councils in all three towns.
The change has triggered a wave of investment in new hotels, bigger casinos and other amenities in all three mountain towns with casinos hoping to attract more gamblers and big spenders as the state emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The higher limits come as Colorado casinos had their best month in nearly two years during March, generating $75.7 million in revenue, the most since they posted $76.1 million in revenue during August 2019. That's the first monthly increase since February 2020, before the pandemic forced gaming halls to close for three months amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data posted Thursday by the Colorado Division of Gaming. March revenue totals for Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek also were the highest since late 2019.
Cripple Creek is taking its time rolling out higher limits and new games amid a struggle to hire more staff for poker, blackjack and other table games. Most casinos are not operating table games around the clock, and probably won't for several more weeks, because they lack the staff to do so.
As for Central City, the change to no-limit gambling helped activate a long-shuttered casino building on Main Street and the mayor expects a financial boost to city coffers. “It affects Black Hawk more than Central City, but this will definitely help,” said Mayor Jeremy Fey. “Even more than this, the sports betting helped quite a bit.” Those two measures combined helped entice a buyer for the “Scarlet building,” at 130 Main St. — the first building westbound drivers see entering city limits.
The city chose to enforce strict historical preservation guidelines for developers, which led most casino owners to develop high-rise resorts in Black Hawk. Fey said most of the city’s gambling revenue comes from slot machines, and “very few people will bet more than a $100 on a pull.”
In Black Hawk, the new no-limits stakes are expected to attract many of those hard-core gamblers who would otherwise head to Las Vegas. “There’s tremendous upside for the city of Black Hawk,” said Mayor David Spellman. “With the limits lifted, and the full compliment of games available, we’ll be adding patrons from Denver metro, but also Colorado and regionally in general.”