Colorado casino to cut ribbon on craps table
The Colorado Springs Gazette
Aspen, CO Colorado
CRIPPLE CREEK ” At Cripple Creek’s first craps table, all bets were off Thursday, but that didn’t stop the dice from tumbling.
Amendment 50, which Colorado voters approved in November, allows the state’s casino towns to raise limits, expand hours and add craps and roulette tables to their gaming floors. The changes won’t take effect until July 2, but Cripple Creek’s Wildwood Casino is wasting no time getting ready.
Wildwood general manager Kevin Werner ordered a roulette and a craps table before Cripple Creek voters gave the go-ahead Dec. 16 and began training his dealers this week.
“Instead of sitting in a classroom, we’re actually playing,” said Brent Pontius, part of the group at the table Thursday.
Each dealer will get about 100 hours of training on craps (it’s a complicated game), and then, in March, Werner plans to allow customers to roll the dice themselves ” although there’ll be no wagering until July. That will give gamblers a chance to learn the rules and the flow of the game, in which bettors lay various wagers on the outcome of a roll of the dice.
“There are a lot of people in Colorado who haven’t played craps,” he said. “And craps can be an intimidating game.”
While the Wildwood is the first to come to the table, all of the Cripple Creek casinos are hoping for big returns from Amendment 50. Statewide, casino revenue fell 12.3 percent in 2008 ” the only time that revenue has dropped since gambling was legalized in 1991.
With the faltering economy, 2009 wasn’t shaping up to be much better, but the new games and limits give the industry hope. The Colorado Grande Casino is considering building an addition to house more table games, general manager Eric Rose said.
“Obviously, it’s an opportunity,” he said. “It will get pretty exciting.”
Still, Amendment 50 won’t be a silver bullet, Werner said.
“At the end of the day,” Werner said, “what will help us is a good economy.”
With five dealers needed for one table, it’s not a given that craps will be a big moneymaker, Werner said. Indeed, only the larger Cripple Creek casinos plan on installing craps tables and some of the smaller casinos may hold off on roulette, too. However, Werner said, craps is a loud, fun game that adds to the ambiance even for people not playing.
“You’ll always hear noise and action on the craps table,” he said.
Robert Jimenez, a customer at the Wildwood who went over to watch the action on Thursday, said he thinks the new games will be a hit.
“You just didn’t have the full casino activity” without craps or roulette, he said. “It makes it a better place to come to.”
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A speeding car on Tuesday morning crashed into and destroyed part of the winter closure gate on Maroon Creek Road.