The Centennial State’s three mountain casino towns combined to generate $94.2 million in August adjusted gross proceeds, a 4% drop from $98.1 million in July. It was also 2.5% lower than the $96.6 million a year ago.
Despite these drops, August’s numbers produced the third-highest monthly total for the year, behind only July and March ($95.9 million).
Numbers down in all three CO towns
All of Colorado’s retail casinos sit within three towns, each an hour or so into the mountains from its two major cities. Black Hawk and Central City are adjacent to one another west of Denver, while Cripple Creek similarly serves Colorado Springs residents.
Many of these casinos have entered into sports betting partnerships, but Colorado online casinos remain illegal. Momentum continues to grow toward legalizing iGaming, but retail casinos remain the only option until that happens.
Black Hawk is the largest of these towns in volume and stature. There are 16 Black Hawk casinos, including multiple resort-style properties. August’s betting volume confirmed its dominance with a $72.7 million adjusted gross proceeds (AGP).
That number accounted for 77.2% of AGP statewide but was down month over month (-3.4%) and year over year (-0.3%).
Cripple Creek casinos reported a $14.9 million AGP, earning a 15.9% market share. However, these numbers also fell 2.1% MoM and -7.7% YoY.
Slot machines remain Colorado casinos’ bread and butter
Unsurprisingly, slot machines were casinos’ biggest drivers in August. Slot machine handle totaled $1.05 billion (-6% MoM; -3.7% YoY), bringing in $80.1 million AGP (-4.9% MoM; -3.1% YoY).
- Black Hawk: $775.7 million handle (74% market share); $59.9 million AGP (74.8% market share)
- Cripple Creek: $186.6 million handle (18% market share); $13.9 million AGP (17.3% market share)
- Central City: $83.3 million handle (8% market share); $6.3 million AGP (7.4% market share)
Multi-denomination slots made up for nearly half that action with a $483.4 million handle and $33.6 million AGP. Penny slots were almost as profitable ($31.6 million AGP) despite accepting roughly two-thirds of the total wagers ($330.8 million).
Dollar slots also took in nine figures worth of action with a $156.7 million handle, but the $9.8 million AGP was significantly lower than multi-denomination and 1-cent machines.
Table games accounted for most of the rest, totaling $14.1 million in AGP (+1.2% MoM; +1.4% YoY). The top three table games in August were blackjack ($4.5 million AGP), baccarat ($2.8 million AGP) and roulette ($1.5 million AGP).
State coffers receive over $12 million in August
Casinos may have made less in August than in July, but the state saw a significant boost to its tax revenue. After casinos contributed $6.1 million in July taxes, August’s bill reached nearly $12.2 million.
July marked the start of the 2024 fiscal year, causing all casinos in Colorado to reset gross AGP. As a result, many venues’ tax rates fell into lower brackets for the month.
After two months, casino profits reached enough to elevate taxes toward what we’re used to seeing. August’s tax bill was 3.2% lower than last year’s $12.6 million, but that number correlates to a lower AGP.
FY 2023 made $172.9 million in taxes from casino gaming, half of which went to state programs via the Limit Gaming Fund. The other half breaks down as follows:
- 12% distributed to gaming counties
- 10% distributed to gaming cities
- 28% distributed to the State Historical Fund for the preservation of historical sites in gaming cities and statewide
Colorado is on pace to fall just short of that number through the first two months of FY 2024.