First Colorado Casinos Set To Reopen On June 17

Written By Ian St. Clair on 06/07/2020
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Colorado casinos are finally set to reopen to the public.

Well, at least of some of them and in a limited capacity.

PlayColorado was informed on Sunday that Gilpin County had its variance request approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). It’s essentially an exemption from the state’s “safer-at-home” policy.

That means the casinos in the gaming towns of Black Hawk and Central City can finally reopen to the public.

Patrons will be able to play slot machines for now. Table games are not yet an option but will be considered again in three weeks.

Monarch Casino opening June 17

They were ordered to close on March 17 by Gov. Jared Polis because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To say Colorado casinos were anxious and frustrated is an understatement.

But they’re getting what they asked for last week — a quick resolution.

PlayColorado was told that Monarch Casino and Resort, in particular, is set to reopen at 8 a.m. MST on June 17.

“We have missed serving our guests and working with our team members over the past couple of months. We are really looking forward to opening our doors in the safest possible manner,” Monarch Casino and Resort Chief Operating Officer David Farahi said in a press release.

Whether the other casinos in Gilpin County will reopen at the same time is not clear.

Black Hawk, Central City reopening with restrictions

The confirmation letter is available on the CDPHE website.

In the letter, dated June 6, it states the following about casinos:

“Finally, you proposed to open casinos. Upon further inquiry, you agreed to a revision to your variance proposal that only opens the slot machines in the casino. Opening of the slot machines only is approved at this time, with the following additions to what you propose in your application:

  • Any closing of the slot machines cannot be done in such a manner to intentionally improve the odds in favor of the house when it comes to payouts.
  • Any bus systems that transport people to the casinos must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis and cleaned between each transport.

“Gaming tables are not approved at this time, but will be considered again in three weeks.”

Casinos are required to have six feet of social distancing between patrons and 50 percent of the posted occupancy limit. They are not to exceed more than 175 people at any given time in a confined indoor space, and 250 people in any outdoor setting.

Casinos are also required to post signage on doors telling guests who are experiencing COVID-like symptoms not to enter.

As for Teller County, which is home to the gaming town of Cripple Creek, the status of its variance request is unclear.

The most recent update on the CDPHE website pertains to a May 22 letter. The letter states that casinos in the county were not given the green light to reopen.

This is an evolving story, so check back for updates.

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Ian St. Clair

Ian is an award-winning sports journalist and a University of Northern Colorado graduate. He’s a Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. He broke into the gambling industry right as Colorado launched legal sports betting in 2020. Ian now manages the sites for some of the biggest gambling markets in North America and is an analyst for PlayColorado.

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