Introduction to Colorado Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2018
Colorado slot machine casino gambling consists of traditional slots available in 35 casinos in the three historic mountain towns of Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek as well as two American Indian tribal casinos.
The two National Historic Districts are Black Hawk/Central City and Cripple Creek. These towns are where gambling was initially legalized in 1991 with the hope that gaming would revive and protect them.
The two American Indian tribal casinos are located:
- Ignacio, 330 miles southwest of Denver near the Arizona border.
- Towaoc, 83 miles west of Ignacio near the southwest corner of Colorado.
This post continues the weekly blog series Online Resource: State-By-State Slots Gambling Summaries, an online resource dedicated to guiding slot machine casino gambling enthusiasts to success. Each weekly post reviews slots gambling in a single U.S. state, territory, or federal district.
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Relevant Legal Statutes on Gambling in Colorado*
The minimum gambling age in Colorado depends upon the gambling activity:
- Land-Based Casinos: 21
- Poker Rooms: 21
- Bingo: 18
- Lottery: 18
- Pari-Mutuel Wagering: 18
Gambling was legalized in 1991 within the mountain towns of Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek. At the time, the maximum bet limit was $5. In 2008, Colorado voters approved raising this maximum bet to $100.
All casinos are open 24 hours, but casinos in the mountain towns don’t serve alcohol from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. All casinos follow identical state gambling laws.
The restriction of non-tribal casinos being closed from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. is a feature of Colorado’s gambling laws, specifically Limited Gaming or Limited Stakes. This legal restriction includes limiting maximum wagers to $100.
*The purpose of this section is to inform the public of state gambling laws and how the laws apply to various forms of gambling. This information is not intended to provide legal advice.
Slot Machine Private Ownership in Colorado
It is legal in the state of Colorado to privately own a slot machine manufactured prior to 1984.
Gaming Control Board in Colorado
Colorado’s gaming regulations are provided by the Colorado Division of Gaming located within its Department of Revenue’s Enforcement Division.
Each month, the Division provides actual payout return statistics, including state-wide non-tribal casinos as well as specifically for each of the three historic mountain towns.
These actual payout return statistics are offered as hold percentages, where payout% is 100% minus hold%. In other words, these payout reports provide the percentage made by the casino operator rather than the percentage retained by the player, so will need to be converted.
Gaming at the two tribal casinos in Colorado is regulated by negotiated tribal-state compacts.
However, except for not allowing alcohol between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. as well as not providing actual payout return statistics, these gaming regulations appear to be identical to the state gaming regulations put in place for casinos in the three historic mountain towns.
Casinos in Colorado
There are 33 non-tribal casinos, 2 American Indian tribal casinos, and zero non-tribal racinos in Colorado.
The largest casino in Colorado is Ameristar Casino Resort in Black Hawk, having 1,513 gaming machines and 25 table games.
The second largest casino in Colorado is Isle of Capri Hotel Casino in Black Hawk, having 1,080 gaming machines and 18 table games.
List of Casinos in Colorado
The non-tribal casinos are located in three historic mountain towns. Their location, number of casinos, and number of slot machines are as follows:
- Black Hawk
- Located 50 miles west of Denver.
- 15 casinos.
- 7,144 slot machines.
- Located 50 miles west of Denver.
- Central City
- Located 4 miles west of Black Hawk.
- 6 casinos.
- 2,014 slot machines.
- Located 4 miles west of Black Hawk.
- Cripple Creek
- Located 112 miles south of Denver.
- 12 casinos.
- 3,531 slot machines.
- Located 112 miles south of Denver.
Given the nearness of the towns of Black Hawk and Central City, only 4 miles apart, there is a heated competition between these two towns for revenue since gambling was legalized in 1991.
Travelers from Denver reach Black Hawk before passing through to reach Central City. As a result, the town of Black Hawk has had much more gambling revenue. In a 2009 article from the Denver Post, it was estimated Black Hawk had three times the casinos and seven times the revenue when compared to Central City.
However, Central City has been growing quickly lately due to shorter travel from Denver thanks to a new exit off the I-70 interstate highway at Idaho Springs, 8 miles away. Black Hawk can now be reached by first driving through Central City, or by taking the State Routes 6 and 119 from Denver.
Central City is relatively more historic than the other 2 mountain towns. Black Hawk is much more of typical casino town, nearly reminiscent of Las Vegas. Cripple Creek feels like a bit of both.
Colorado also has pari-mutuel wagering facilities, including off-track betting (OTB) at former greyhound racetracks, but none of them offer slot machines. These sites are run by Mile High Racing and Entertainment, which offers horse racing at Arapahoe Park as well as 10 OTB locations across Colorado.
List of Tribal Casinos in Colorado
The two American Indian tribal casinos located in southwest Colorado are:
- Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio, located 330 miles southwest of Denver, is operated by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and currently has over 500 slot machines.
- Ute Mountain Casino, RV Park and Travel Center in Towaoc, located 400 miles southwest of Denver and 112 miles west of Ignacio, is operated by the Ute Mountain Tribe and currently has about 790 slot machines.
Other Gambling Establishments
As an alternative to enjoying Colorado slot machine casino gambling, consider exploring casino options in a nearby state.
Colorado is bordered by:
- North: Wyoming Slots.
- Northwest: Nebraska Slots.
- East: Kansas Slots.
- Southeast: Oklahoma Slots.
- South: New Mexico Slots.
- West: Utah Slots.
- Southwest: Arizona Slots at the Four Corners.
Each of the links above will take you to my state-specific blog article for that bordering state to Colorado.
Payout Returns in Colorado
Colorado’s Division of Gaming is located within its Department of Revenue’s Enforcement Division. It publishes gaming statistics monthly.
These statistics are provided state-wide and for the three mountain towns. However, the Division is legally prohibited from releasing them for each individual casino.
These Gaming Industry Statistics are provided the next business day after casinos file taxes on the 15th of each month, or the 16th if the 15th is a holiday.
As of this writing, the latest monthly statistical report available is for June 2018. For this month, it shows the following hold percentages which, again, are 100% minus payout return percent.
Overall, for June 2018, the statewide return percent was 92.55%. For Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek they were, respectively, 92.31%, 92.16%, and 93.59%. In other words, for June 2018, Cripple Creek had the highest overall payout return percentage.
In the following table, I have provided the latest actual statistics as made publicly available on the Division’s website. Once again, for your convenience, I have taken the liberty of converting the hold percent provided into the more usual payout return percent.
All other considerations aside, Cripple Creek’s dime denomination slot machines had the best return of 117.14%. Yes, you read that correctly. The actual payout returns for 10-cent slot machines in the town of Cripple Creek exceeded 100% for the month of June 2018.
The next best return in these June 2018 statistics were high limit slot machines at 95.68% and quarter machines, both also at Cripple Creek.
Payout return statistics from the two tribal casinos is not legally required, per their negotiated tribal-state compacts. If you are interested in reviewing the details of their current compacts, both are available on the Division’s Tribal Casinos in Colorado webpage.
Summary of Colorado Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2018
Colorado slot machine casino gambling consists of 12,689 slot machines available at 33 casinos in Colorado’s three historic mountain towns of Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek. Additionally, about 1,300 slot machines are available at the two tribal casinos located in southwest Colorado.
Actual payout return statistics are provided on a monthly basis for the three historic towns, but none are legally required for the American Indian tribal casinos per their negotiated tribal-state compacts.
Annual Progress in Colorado Slot Machine Casino Gambling
Colorado slot machine casino gambling has been relatively stable over the last year, with two exceptions. first, last year Colorado had 40 casinos while there are only currently only 35 casinos. The second small exception is the change in traffic flow for the two mountain towns of Black Hawk and Central City.
Previously, travelers from Denver would arrive first at Black Hawk by taking state routes 6 and 119. However, a new exit from Interstate 70 provides immediate access to first Central City, then the town of Black Hawk 4 miles away.
Such a significant change in traffic flow from Denver is suspected to eventually have an impact on relative gambling revenues for these two nearby towns. Although, a complete reversal of gambling revenues, if it occurs, may well take a few more years.
2017 Archive: Colorado Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2017 – Colorado slot machine casino gambling consists of 40 casinos located in the historic mountain towns of Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek, with 2 tribal casinos in Ignacio and Towaoc. Colorado Division of Gaming publishes gaming industry statistics. Review these for slot machines with the best odds of winning!
Related Articles from Professor Slots
- 11 Things You Need To Know About American Indian Tribal Casinos – Tribal gaming is involved, even sophisticated, in terms of legal, regulatory, political, and economic factors. It’s one of the least understood segments of the U.S. gaming industry. This summary article on American Indian tribal casinos helps slot machine casino gamblers better understand the tribal casinos they visit.
Other State-By-State Articles from Professor Slots
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