Teller County officials on Friday asked the state to allow Cripple Creek's 12 casinos to reopen blackjack, craps, poker and roulette tables, and serve alcohol around the clock.
While the city's casinos reopened June 15 after a nearly three-month closure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, they weren't allowed to resume table games without a separate state approval. Casinos in Black Hawk and Central City were allowed to reopen table games Friday because Gilpin County moved to a looser set of restrictions, called "Protect Our Neighbors" that are designed to slow the spread of the pandemic.
Marc Dettenrieder, chairman of the Teller County Board of Commissioners, said he expects the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to act on the request "in a week a so." The request is an amendment to a variance to statewide COVID-19 restrictions that allowed the casinos to reopen with limited capacity and fewer slot machines in order to maintain social distancing, temperature checks and mask requirements for customers and employees, and frequent cleaning of slot machines.
"We worked very closely with the casino industry on this variance," Dettenrieder said. "We feel like we are in a good position to go back to this with new COVID cases trending down. While table games are on percentage basis relatively small, they are an important part of casinos getting back to normal with their revenue. This variance is really important to the City of Cripple Creek, which struggled when the casinos were closed."
The request limits players to three per table for black jack, four for roulette and six each for craps and poker; players and employees must wear masks except when drinking or eating and use hand sanitizer before beginning play. Cards, chips, dice, roulette balls and other equipment must be cleaned frequently. All customers will be limited to buying one alcoholic drink every 30 minutes.
Matt Andrighetti, general manager of the Wildwood Casino in Cripple Creek, said the industry has "been waiting six months to reopen tables. We have been actively pushing for this since we reopened and are incredibly happy this (variance amendment) has been filed. We're excited and hope the state approves it quickly."