he City of Black Hawk in Colorado is helping 15 casinos that have been shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic, waiving $1.4 million in device fees. The city has waived another $700,000 in fees for the month of April, and did the same thing in March. It is also allowing casinos to defer water payments to a later date.
Each casino pays the City a flat fee per slot machine and gaming table they operate. “It’s very helpful and the City of Black Hawk has always been very supportive of the industry,” Monarch Casino and Resort Chief Operating Officer David Farahi told FOX31. He said Monarch’s income is zero right now, and they have had to furlough almost their entire staff.
Farahi is also the president of the Colorado Gaming Association, which represents Colorado’s casino industry. “Every casino in America is closed right now and it’s a very trying time,” he said.
According to Farahi, Colorado’s casino industry generates $700 million in revenue per year. That means statewide, casinos have lost out on about $81 million since they were shut down on March 16 due to COVID-19. “Our industry being shut down not only greatly affects the 10,000 employees that are directly employed by the industry but it has ripple effects across all the beneficiaries of gaming tax dollars,” Farahi said.
That money helps fund areas like Colorado’s tourism department, History Colorado and community colleges. Colorado’s casinos will collectively lose $13.5 million each week they remain closed.
The situation could see some relief on May 1, when sports betting becomes legal in Colorado and several casinos with licenses for sports books will begin taking bets online through apps. Although, the revenue is expected to be a fraction of what they planned for.
“There isn’t a whole lot to bet on these days. We will have some things for people to bet on. They’ll be able to bet on what are called futures, so you could place a bet on whether the Broncos are going to win the next Super Bowl or not,” Farahi said.
“We don’t have a lot of information as to when the state’s going to allow us to reopen but we are preparing for that day now,” Farahi said.