Black Hawk and Central City casino gamblers are once again free to hit, stand, or double down as table games in the county have been given the green light to open. They just might not be allowed to touch the cards.
During the quarantine order, casinos in Gilpin County were ordered closed for three full months. The closures wreaked havoc on the local economies, which are highly dependent on casino revenue. Giplin County Manager Abel Montoya said at a May meeting of the Colorado Limited Gaming Commission that the pandemic could wind up costing Gilpin County $20-40 million in revenue over the next 5-7 years.
When Gilpin casinos reopened on June 17, new COVID-19 related guidelines limited capacity, required temperature checks and facemasks, and mandated that only slots be available, while table games like blackjack, roulette, and craps remained closed.
Reopening A Result Of Controlling COVID-19 Cases
This week, the Colorado Department of Public Health allowed three Colorado counties including Gilpin to relax some of its restrictions due to keeping coronavirus case numbers under control. Casino counties have been actively lobbying to ease some of these requirements and reopen table games since mid-summer.
Since reopening, Gilpin County casinos have undergone major transformations in an effort to keep employees and visitors safe, from high-tech solutions like virus-killing UV light to low-tech moves like installing plexiglass screens between slot machines.
Monarch Casino in Black Hawk coated every slot machine with a biostatic coating designed to kill bacteria, viruses, and mold.
We paid a visit to newly reopened casinos in June and the experience was markedly different than before coronavirus. Cameras at the door of nearly every casino in town scanned visitors’ temperature as well as took their picture for contact tracing.
Reached by email, Colorado Division of Gaming Director Dan Hartman said the move to open up table games is a positive step towards normalcy.
“As the state safely moves forward, we are looking forward to this measured step to begin the industry’s return to normal. The Commission and Division will continue to work with the industry, state and county health departments ensuring the safest gaming environment in which patrons can enjoy these expanded options.”
What Gamblers Can Expect To See
Just as the experience at casinos changed when they initially reopened, the way table games are played will also be different. Monarch Casino COO David Farahi told Westword that going forward, Monarch’s table games would be going touch-free, and that only the dealers would be touching the cards.
As for craps, known for its tightly packed crowds, shooters at the Monarch must sanitize their hands before each roll of the dice, which will also be sanitized, and changed out after every roll, Westword reports.
The Lodge Casino in Black Hawk detailed some of its new safety measures around table games on its website, as well as restricted seating capacity. It also noted players would not be allowed to handle any cards.
- Blackjack games will be limited to 3 players per table
- Roulette will be limited to 4 per table
- Craps will be limited to 6 per table
Table games reopening will be welcome news for Colorado casino gamblers, who were overwhelmingly eager to return to try their luck, but also predominantly said they wanted to see new safety measures in place.