What a difference a year makes.
One year ago, casinos in Colorado were closed. There was no clear path when they would reopen or when people could return to work and collect a paycheck.
Colorado casinos wouldn’t reopen until mid-June. Yet even then, it wasn’t a full “open.” They weren’t allowed to have table games.
As it sits now, it’s a complete 180 from where it was a year ago.
On Saturday, casinos in Colorado will finally have the opportunity to offer no-limit gaming and expanded table games. For now, most will roll out baccarat. The no-cap gaming limits hit the casino floors at midnight on Friday.
In the near future, look for these games to get added:
- Pai Gow Tiles
- Big Wheel Six
So if you are planning a trip to Black Hawk and Central City or further south to Cripple Creek, you’ll see those changes in place this weekend.
As Monarch Casino Resort director of casino marketing, Erica Ferris, said to PlayColorado:
“The main thing that both we and our guests are excited about is how this just really opens up our market and allows us to really compete with those trips to Las Vegas. And it allows us to offer those games and limits that people are really looking for. So we’re excited to be super competitive in the gaming resort destination market. And we’re excited to offer these games and these limits to people who have been asking for them for years.”
Amendment 77 paves the way for no-limit gaming
The reason the casinos are now able to offer no-limit gaming and expanded table games is because Colorado voters approved Amendment 77 in November’s election.
The amendment gives local control to residents in those three gaming towns. That means they have the authority to approve the maximum bet of any amount.
That also means voters could approve the addition of casino games to what is allowed in the Colorado Constitution: blackjack, craps, poker, roulette and slots.
It’s important to point out that the amendment does not alter gaming laws in Colorado.
Since it passed, the residents in the three towns have the option to hold a local election and decide whether residents want to extend betting limits and games. That has since happened in all three communities.
The next step was for the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission to put the rules in place. The first batch of rules were approved at the February meeting and subsequent meetings added even more.
As Dan Hartman, director for the Colorado Division of Gaming, said:
“The Gaming cities in Colorado have been anticipating this day for a long time. No limit gaming brings a new era for Colorado gaming and it comes as things are beginning to return to normal. There are many new prospects for job opportunities in all aspects of the expanding gaming industry.”
A new day for Colorado casinos
Prior to the passage of Amendment 77, the bet limit at casinos in Colorado was $100. Industry experts and Colorado gamblers felt that was a hurdle pushing people to other markets. Even the casinos in Deadwood, S.D. have a bet limit of $1,000.
Now, this opens up all kinds of possibilities.
Remember, casinos here make contributions to the community colleges and historic preservation. That only will shoot up with the addition of no-limit gaming and expanded table games.
Not to mention the boost in tourism to Colorado.
“Right now, Denver and Colorado is the fourth or fifth largest feeder market to Las Vegas in the United States,” Ferris said. “And for Colorado and Colorado casinos, this means that we’re in a position to start keeping that business here in our state. That means a lot for community colleges. That means a lot for the Colorado Tourism and their ability to advertise our state outside of this state. And that is something that we are excited to offer. When we’re able to compete with markets like Las Vegas is when we’re really going to excel, and that’s what we’re most excited about.”
Colorado can now compete with other gaming markets
When you think back to a year ago, it’s amazing the complete turnaround that casinos are about to experience. From the uncertainty as to when they could even reopen to now having a clear path to new and exciting possibilities.
“With no-limit gaming and the introduction of new games, it puts Colorado on par with other gaming markets,” Hartman said. “We anticipate an increase in people enjoying Colorado gaming and an increase in gaming revenues. Whether it’s the regular players, tourists, returning or new players, they will find that the gaming towns have something for everyone.”
“What this means is that our team members are back with us. This means our table games team members are here, providing a more complete product for our guests. A year ago, we were just in this uncertainty because we didn’t know when we were going to open. We didn’t know when we would be able to open. We didn’t know what it would look like. And today, we see a clear path forward where not only we do well but our team members do well and we can provide the gaming entertainment that our guests are truly looking for.”