Wyoming Gaming Facility Looks To Attract Colorado Gamblers

Written By Adam Hensley on 06/05/2024
A magnet attracting figurines

A new gambling facility in Wyoming aims to entice Colorado gamblers to travel north.

Horse Palace at Swan Ranch, which sits a few miles south of Cheyenne and 30 miles north of Fort Collins on I-25, plans to open soon with historical horse racing machines and off-track betting.

Could it draw gamblers away from the mountain towns that exclusively house Colorado’s casinos?

Facility includes a steakhouse with a celebrity chef

Colorado allows casinos only in three towns: Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. The first two are about an hour-and-a-half from Denver, while Cripple Creek is about the same distance from Colorado Springs. Colorado online casinos remain illegal.

Swan Ranch spent around $25 million to build the new 30,000-square-foot facility. Along with a plethora of historical horse racing (HHR) machines, the facility will offer live wagering on simulcast horse races from across the world. HHR machines allow for betting on races that have already been run. Players are not provided race particulars, like jockeys or when the race occurred.

Wyoming Horse Racing president Nick Hughes touted the new gaming facility.

“Colorado’s Front Range communities are about to experience a whole new level of entertainment.”

Slot machines and traditional casino gaming are prohibited in Wyoming. Slots and table games are only permitted on select Native American reservations in the state.

In addition to its horse racing options, Horse Palace promises extraordinary food. Celebrity chef Shawn Jackson has been brought in to oversee a menu that features several steakhouse favorites. And according to Cowboy State Daily, there will be the “occasional Italian twist.”

Colorado casino revenue up nearly 30% in the last 3 years

The Horse Palace has its sights mainly set on Fort Collins, with its 170,000 population. Greeley is close too, sporting about 100,000 people.

It could entice folks from Denver to make the 90-mile trip as well.

Horse Palace General Manager Steven Jimenez confirmed to Cowboy State Daily that their target is indeed Coloradans.

“Our marketing spend right now, 75% is geared toward Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, that outer part of Denver. The remaining 25% is (in Wyoming), but the main goal is to get new tourism dollars into the state.”

Despite that, it’s unlikely that Horse Palace will have a significant impact on Colorado’s casinos. Casino revenue in Colorado is up 28% since the state removed the $100 betting limit.

And several casinos are investing millions of dollars to make sure Coloradans keep coming.

For example, Monarch Casino Resort Spa in Black Hawk recently completed a major renovation. The $400 million expansion added more than 500 hotel rooms, several restaurants, a luxurious spa and a rooftop pool. The location is home to more than 1,000 slot machines, 42 table games and a sportsbook.

Monarch is probably not concerned about Horse Palace poaching its customers. The casino’s director of gaming, Steve Zlobin, recently told PlayColorado that it can offer amenities not found anywhere other than maybe in Las Vegas.

“People in Colorado are more likely to do a staycation with all the things Colorado can offer. Having higher limits, the gaming and that staycation experience in your own backyard is very attractive to a lot of our residents.”

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Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist from Des Moines, Iowa, who currently works for the USA Today Network. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working for the Daily Iowan’s sports department, both as an editor and reporter.

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