Black Hawk, Central City Casinos Allowed to Bring Back Table Games

Written By Ian St. Clair on 02/09/2021 - Last Updated on July 8, 2022

Casinos in Colorado have been forced to play a no-win game.

They’ve been forced to close and reopen but with conditions.

The casinos have had table games and then have been forced to shut them down again.

That puts casino workers in an even more untenable situation.

Their livelihoods are on the line.

Welcome to the age of COVID-19 when the status of casinos could change in a moment’s notice.

At least this week, casinos in Gilpin County got some good news.

They’re allowed to bring table games back.

At the Monarch Casino Resort, they’ll have table games at 9 a.m. MST on Thursday.

The Ameristar announced on Tuesday afternoon that it would offer table games starting at 2 p.m. on Thursday.

The only game you won’t see if you head to Black Hawk is roulette.

Casino patrons will be able to play:

  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • 3 card poker
  • DJ Wild

According to a press release, Gilpin County recently gave Monarch the go-ahead to increase capacity and extend “last call” to midnight.

As David Farahi, COO of Monarch and president of the Colorado Gaming Association (CGA), said to PlayColorado:

“This is going to be a shot of adrenaline for us. More than 100 of our dealers will be getting back to work.”

New COVID-19 dial

This past weekend, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) unveiled its COVID-19 dial 2.0.

As CDPHE said in a FAQ about the new dial:

“A top priority has always been to prevent a breach of the hospital system. With the sustained decline in cases and hospitalizations and with vaccine distribution and higher levels of immunity in our 70+ population, there is now less pressure on the system. Colorado will continue to balance disease transmission with economic hardship through ‘Dial 2.0.’”

What that means for casinos in Colorado is they may continue to operate to the dial level for which the county where they operate is approved.

For table games, that means they can operate when the county is in Level Green.

They’re not authorized to operate in Levels Blue, Yellow, Orange, Red, or Purple.

As it stands now, Gilpin County is in Level Blue (but Level Green for cumulative incidence) and Teller County is in Level Yellow.

The casinos in Black Hawk and Central City have been without table games since mid-November.

Under guidelines from the CDPHE announced then, the casinos there were forced to do so due to the rising cases of COVID in the county.

It wasn’t just table games impacted by that order, either.

Casinos also had to limit capacity to 100 people and alcohol could not be sold past 11 p.m.

What about Teller County?

At the February Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (CLGCC) meeting, it was announced that Cripple Creek now has table games as well.

Unlike Black Hawk and Central City, the casinos in Cripple Creek had not been allowed to bring back table games since they were initially brought back in mid-September.

Since mid-November, Teller County had to limit occupancy to no more than 50 people in any room, or no more than 25% of a room’s maximum occupancy, whichever is less.

There was also serious concern that casinos there would have to shut down again.

At the last second, CDPHE changed course and allowed casinos in Cripple Creek to remain open.

Now that Cripple Creek casinos are allowed to bring back table games, that’s a positive development in a time where there hasn’t been a lot of it there.

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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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