Black Hawk, Central City First Colorado Gaming Towns To Increase Bet Limits

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Less than a month after Colorado voters gave the gaming cities of Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek the power to make some decisions on gaming, the Black Hawk and Central City city councils last week passed ordinances to implement the measure. Amendment 77 allows “unlimited maximum single bets on games approved for play within the City.” Both cities also expanded their casino gaming menus.

The Black Hawk City Council was the first to approve the measure, which goes into effect on May 1, and Central City’s city council followed suit. May 1 is exactly one year after the first four sports betting operators went live in the state.

The Cripple Creek City Council had its final meeting of the year on Dec. 2 and did not address Amendment 77

The state’s Limited Gaming Control Commission must draft and approve rules for the new games and rework language in the current rules that reference bet limits, according to a Department of Revenue spokesperson.

Prior to adopting Amendment 77, bets were capped at $100

Prior to the passage of Amendment 77, wagering in Colorado was capped at $100 per bet. About 60% of voters statewide supported the amendment. The amendment also allows each of the three cities to expand their gaming options. According to the approved ordinances in both Black Hawk and Central City, the councils allowed adding myriad casino games, including baccarat and baccarat variations, Tiger Split, multiple forms of keno, Casino War, double-ball roulette, Big Six Wheel, any forms of blackjack not already legal, Pai Gow poker, and nine side bets.

Thirteen of Colorado’s 33 retail casinos are located in Black Hawk, which is about 45 minutes east of Denver. Nine digital operators are tethered to Black Hawk casinos, including national players Barstool, DraftKings, FanDuel, FoxBet, and William Hill. Among the smaller operators is Monarch Casino, which opted not to partner with a national name and is running its own sportsbook operation.

David Farahi serves as chief operating officer at Monarch Casino in Black Hawk and president of the Colorado Gaming Association. The association has yet to put a dollar figure on what the changes will mean for the city, state, and industry, Farahi said.

“Suffice it to say, it will be a net positive and grow the pie for everyone,” Farahi told CoBets.

There are six retail casinos in neighboring Central City, and none currently have live digital sports betting operations.

Colorado sportsbooks have seen steady growth since regulators launched the first four into a barren sports landscape in May. At that time, no major professional sports leagues were playing in the U.S. amid the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operators wrote $25.6 million in handle that month and approached 10 times that much in October, when handle reached nearly $211 million.

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Jill Dorson

Jill has covered everything from steeplechase to the NFL and then some during a more than 30-year career in sports journalism. The highlight of her career was covering Oakland Raiders during the Charles Woodson/Jon Gruden era, including the infamous “Snow Bowl” and the Raiders’ 2003 trip to Super Bowl XXXVII. Her specialty these days is covering sports betting legislation across the country.

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