NYT: ‘Factories for processing bets’ abound in expanding Black Hawk

If you haven’t been to the Colorado gambling Mecca of Black Hawk in a few years –- maybe since the quaint notion of $5 limited-stakes gaming was first approved by voters who wanted the former mining town’s western character preserved –- you probably wouldn’t recognize the place.

Let an article in Tuesday’s New York Times — focusing mostly on new, $100 limits and expanded, 24-hour gaming –- set the current scene in comparison to nearby Central City: “Black Hawk, by contrast, where fussy history rules were never applied, has huge parking garages and industrial-strength casinos that look like factories for the processing of bets.”

Makes you want to jump in the car and head up Clear Creek Canyon along Highway 6, doesn’t it?

The Times story says the volume of betting and state taxes paid in Black Hawk is more than the other two Colorado gambling towns — Central City and Cripple Creek –- combined, but it points out that the town’s success has come at a cost. Namely Black Hawk’s mountain-town charm.

So just as the towering casinos of South Lake Tahoe seem out of place along the shores of the vast blue lake and at the base of Heavenly Ski Resort on the California-Nevada border, Colorado now has its own incongruous mini-Atlantic City “nestled” in the high country.

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About the Author

David O. Williams

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail
and Real Aspen.

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