Central City, CO, aka the City of Central, is a historic mining settlement founded in 1859.
Today, it has a population of fewer than 700 residents. At its peak, as many as 10,000 prospectors had flocked to what was then known as Mountain City.
Central City would become known as the “Richest Square Mile on Earth” in the prospecting days.
Casino gambling was introduced in Central City in 1990, at the same time as neighboring town Black Hawk.
Black Hawk had two significant advantages for gamblers. First, the town had more casinos, and, second, to get to Central City, you had to drive through Black Hawk.
In an effort to compete, Central City built a four-lane parkway of 8.4 miles from I-70, which doesn’t touch Black Hawk.
This page details all the legal casinos you’ll be able to visit in Central City. This guide also includes the casinos’ affiliations with sportsbooks and information on their entertainment and dining options.
Central City is the central seat of Gilpin County, which is just to the west of Denver.
A recent census listed the population of Central City as 663. This is a small number, but the population of the county is less than 5,500. Neighboring Black Hawk hosts merely 118 people.
The two towns form a designated historical area, and a tramline joins the two.
The following casinos operate in Central City.
You’ll find information on each of the Central City, CO, casinos below, including news on partnerships with sportsbooks. We cover both land-based and online sports betting in Central City.
Century Casino in Central City opened in July 2006. It features nearly 500 games, which include a mix of slots and video poker.
Also, you will find eight table games and four poker tables to enjoy the ambiance of “the best poker room of the Century.”
Century Casinos, which also operates the Century Casino in Cripple Creek, CO, have designated Circa Sports as one of its official sports betting partners, which is run by Stadium Technology Group.
You can dine at the Mid City Grill, which is the only casino restaurant in town that welcomes families. This restaurant features a popular prime rib special. It opens at 8 a.m. daily.
Casual dining options are available at the Retro Deli and Tavern, or the bar.
There are 500 free and nearby covered parking spaces, while access to and from Central Park Highway 119 is easy due to two convenient entrances and exits.
Dostal Alley Casino and Brewery is a family-run casino, which opened in 1991.
A brewery was introduced alongside with casino gaming in 1998, were handcrafted beers, such as Gilpin Gold and Smoked 1874, have seen Dostal Alley win multiple awards at the Great American Beer Festival.
In total, this smaller casino’s floor space is 4,000 square feet and features 64 games, with a focus on slots and video poker.
The casino has applied for a sports license and details of a sportsbook link up will surely follow.
Head to the casino to enjoy the restaurant, which has an Italian focus. A wide selection of dishes is available, including the house specialty mountain pizza, which has achieved fame in Central City and beyond.
Unlike many casinos, this smaller site has a quaint family atmosphere.
The casino is open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Easy Street Casino opened in December 2000 and is one of the larger casinos in town, with a floor space of 23,000 square feet.
Easy Street is partners with Famous Bonanza Casino (see below). Easy Street focuses on slots and video poker.
Promotions are prominent at this casino, with its Players Club scheme earning members loyalty points as they play. With regular points boosts awarded, this scheme is suited to those who will be visiting the site daily.
Hit a big win, and you’ll be sure to appear on the casino’s website.
On the second floor of the casino is Millie’s Restaurant, which is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. It offers a full course of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. The Gambler’s Special breakfast for $5 is an excellent way to start the day.
Right across the street from Easy Street Casino is Famous Bonanza Casino. The same company operates these two casinos.
In operation since 1992, this was one of the earliest casinos in Central City (only Dostal Alley was in operation). The site is 3,900 square feet and features more than 200 games, once again, a mix of slots and video poker.
Enjoy the same range of promotions as its partner casino, with the Players Club scheme boosting the fortunes of regular players, as well as points boosts on certain days. This loyalty scheme runs across both casinos, meaning you can enjoy the benefits of both sites.
Head upstairs to Stella’s Cafe, where you’ll find burgers, pizza, paninis, chicken, and more. The homestyle atmosphere with stained-glass windows heightens your dining experience.
While sportsbook licenses haven’t been signed yet, it’s a strong possibility that both Easy Street and Famous Bonanza will link up with the same brand.
Grand Z Casino, formerly known as the Reserve Casino, is the biggest casino and hotel site in Central City.
Gaming here takes place over several floors.
You can play hundreds of slots, as well as more than 20 table games. The site is set on the mountainside, giving it a picturesque air.
The site is part of the Z family of casinos across Colorado, including Johnny Z’s, which also resides in Central City and Z Casino in Black Hawk.
Maverick Gaming recently acquired the group, which now owns 26 properties across Nevada and Washington, too. This adds to Maverick’s sports betting portfolio. The group anticipates partnering with a third-party company, possibly under the brand name.
The flagship restaurant on-site is the Grand Bistro, where fresh fish and hand-cut steaks are the specialties. The Grill and the Z Cafe offer further impressive dining options. Head to the Mile High Room for live entertainment and “the best salsa in town.”
Be sure to download the app to keep track of your player rewards at Grand Z.
Johnny Z’s is under the same Z family of casinos as Grand Z Casino (and is subsequently also a part of the recent acquisition by Maverick Gaming).
The site features 35,000 square feet of gaming space, with nearly 350 slots and video poker machines and six table games.
This casino advertises as a boutique site that specializes in guest service with its long-serving staff.
Head to the Z Grill, the full-service restaurant on-site where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner (look for the signature prime rib). Much of the menu is locally sourced.
Gamblers who want to power up can enjoy the famous “double down” breakfast morning or night. For a quick snack or a Starbucks coffee, head to the Z Cafe.
There is little doubt that slots are the game of choice for casino-goers in Central City. The machines take up the vast majority of the floor at many casinos in town.
Offerings include everything from the latest TV- and movie-themed slots to old-school, three-reel mechanical games.
Video poker terminals, covering both standalone units and bar-top games, are also popular here.
Table games are available, though not in the same numbers as some of the bigger casinos in Black Hawk. The largest amount of tables is only 20 (at the Grand Z Casino). These include the ever-popular blackjack, roulette, and casino poker variations.
Poker rooms are also on the small side.
Whichever games you enjoy, make sure you join the loyalty schemes at the Central City casinos you frequent. These track your play, award comps, and give you access to special offers.
Casino gambling first came to Colorado after a referendum in November 1990.
The Colorado Limited Gambling Initiative (also known as Initiative 4) would allow limited gaming in the towns of Black Hawk, Cripple Creek, and, of course, Central City. Just over a million votes were cast, and the proposal was passed when 57% voted yes.
Another boost for gamblers in Colorado came in 2019, by way of another referendum.
This time around, the vote was to ascertain whether sports betting should be allowed in Colorado. Up until 2018, sports betting was banned under federal law, but this law was overturned. That gave individual states the ability to set their own sports betting rules and regulations. The referendum, Proposition DD, took place in December 2019 and passed narrowly.
Individual casinos in the state are now allowed to apply for a master license. The approved casinos can offer sports betting and internet sports betting licenses to third-party sportsbooks. Many of the casinos have already made agreements with sports betting operators, while others are in the process of brokering deals.
You can place sports betting wager at physical casinos or via legal sports betting apps.
To place a bet, you need to be within Colorado (the geolocation software on your device if you are inside or outside the state).
To legally place a sports bet in Colorado, you need to be 21 years or older.
Central City is just west of Denver.
In 1859, John Gregory would find a gold-bearing vein in Gregory Gulch, which would lead to the settlement of Central City and Black Hawk (Gregory Gulch was between the two settlements).
More than 10,000 people flocked to the town within a year, looking for fortune. While many left, by the time of the 1900 census, there were still more than 3,000 people in the town.
The year 1863 saw a riot when a group of 125 miners aimed to create a union. Fifty broke windows and doors at Bob Tail Mine, intending to force other miners out, and a night of shooting and fighting began. The union movement would eventually fail. The famed “Poker Alice” would live for a time in Central City.
By the end of the century, the veins were becoming exhausted of gold, apart from a small revival in the early 1930s (because of the rise in gold prices). The mining was on a downward spiral. By the 1950s, the town’s population had decreased to a few hundred.
The introduction of casino gambling in Central City saw the town given a boost in the early 1990s. Nevertheless, with more casinos and less zoning (building) restrictions, the neighboring Black Hawk generates more than seven times the income from gaming as Central City.
The most iconic landmark in Central City is Teller House, which for a time, also housed a casino.
This famed, Romanesque structure was built in 1872 and served as the main hotel in Central City for more than 60 years, housing guests such as Ulysses S. Grant, where he enjoyed a luxurious eight-course meal.
Famously, in 1936, after a series of restorations to the building, The Denver Post staff artist (after one too many drinks) painted a woman’s face on the floor of the house, as an homage to French poet Hugh d’Arcy’s poem “The Face upon the Barroom Floor.”
While it might have been a joke at the time, this is one of Central City’s biggest tourist attractions.