There’s confusion in Colorado this week concerning casino table games. Just ten days after the state allowed for raising of betting limits on table games, they have been closed as Colorado aims to tackle a potential second wave of the coronavirus.
All three of the major casinos in Gilpin County have been entered into the “Safer at Home” status, the second of Colorado’s three coronavirus restriction tiers, thus temporarily eliminating the action at the casino’s tables.
Oh, Craps: A Brief Window for Gameplay
Just ten days earlier, lovers of craps, roulette, baccarat, blackjack and poker had started to head to Colorado’s casinos in a bid to enjoy the ability to raise their stakes, as the new legislation provided for. However, that action has now been cut short, following a renewal of COVID-19 infections in the Centennial State.
Under the “Safer at Home” restriction, casinos in Blackhawk and Central City are now forced to reduce the capacity from 500 to 100 gamblers and can no longer sell alcohol after 11pm. Last week, Colorado reported 22,000 new cases, with the infection rate estimated to be 32.2 per 100,000 people.
Legislation Raises Hopes for Colorado Casinos
Up until the latest restrictions, it has been a reasonably good time for Colorado’s land-based casinos, with significant investment planned in gambling companies. Amendment 77, which allowed members of the two operators already mentioned, as well as the Cripple Creek Casino, to wager more than the previous $100 cap on table games passed under a fortnight ago. Baccarat was one of the newest table games set to debut at casinos because of the change in the law.
Table games still count for a small part of Colorado’s casinos’ revenue, ranging from 8% to 25% of the total haul. The downturn has seen communities which rely on casino taxes suffer, while the additional investment was meant to see an increase in jobs and tourism to the casinos. For the time being, that investment and revenue have now been put on ice.
Colorado Casinos Are Not Alone
Colorado is not the first state to see its casinos suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic. Casinos across the United States have had to close or reduce capacity to meet local restrictions. Some, including several in Las Vegas, have fallen foul of the restrictions from time to time.
This has resulted in casinos receiving fines at times when revenue is already down. The sudden changing landscape of the United States’ land-based, brick-and-mortar gambling industry has seen several states look at legalizing online casino gambling sites as a possible avenue to raise revenue. This has prompted some to speculate that once the pandemic is over, the brick-and-mortar casinos could struggle to win back a crowd which may have grown accustomed to the simplicity of gambling from home.