Just like you’ll find in New Jersey and Pennsylvania — where gambling has recently been expanded after the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was found unconstitutional — Colorado has a lot of restrictions around gambling, casinos and sportsbooks. However, there are three cities in Colorado that have legal casinos. Those are the historical districts in Black Hawk, Cripple Creek and Central City.
Black Hawk casinos are legal for anyone over the age of 21, but there are definitely some restrictions that the casinos have to deal with.
Beyond the casinos, Black Hawk is a beautiful mountain town that’s absolutely worth visiting whether you’re a fan of gambling or not. It’s an incredibly tiny town that only has about 100 residents!
But for all that, Black Hawk definitely doesn’t do things small. You’re going to be amazed when you’re driving on winding, twisty mountain roads, only to see some crazy high-rise casinos popping out from behind the mountains!
Black Hawk is well-known for having some incredible high-class buffets, hotels, bars and restaurants that make you feel like you’re in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, but when you combine that with the fact that you’re at an altitude of almost 9,000 feet in the mountains breathing clear, crisp air, well, that’s something you can’t really beat.
Gambling in Black Hawk casinos
You don’t really have to worry much about those restrictions mentioned earlier. When you visit Black Hawk, you can focus on fun — the restrictions are something the casinos deal with and handle.
The main restriction that might rub you wrong is the fact that you can only make a maximum wager of $100, so if you’re used to gambling in Las Vegas or Atlantic City or something like that, you’ll have to keep going if you’re looking for those high-limit tables where all the whales gamble.
The casinos in Black Hawk are only allowed to offer “limited gaming” which means they can’t offer any games they want (which unfortunately includes some favorites like baccarat).
However, they can offer blackjack, slot machines, craps, poker and roulette, and they can offer as many different variations on those core games as they please as long as the games are basically unchanged.
Plus, if you’re familiar with slot machines, you’ll know that there are tons of different types of slot machines available to play, so you won’t really have to worry about not finding something fun to do while you’re in a Black Hawk casino.
Another big benefit that has come recently to the casinos in Black Hawk is that sports betting is now allowed, with May 2020 as the target date for many sportsbooks in Black Hawk gaining approval. This is all thanks to the fact that Colorado passed the gambling legislation HB19-1327.
The major benefit of this law is that you can make much, much larger maximum bets at a sportsbook. Essentially they’re infinite, so if you’re all about big bets that have a high amount of risk, then you can definitely partake in that particular vice in the Black Hawk casinos that open their sportsbooks after May 2020.
You can learn more about the particulars of HB19-1327 here.
Sportsbooks in Black Hawk
When you’re gambling in Colorado, you have access both to sportsbooks inside a physical casino in Black Hawk (and any other city that allows legalized gambling), but you can also make your bets online using a mobile application or a website after May 2020.
Here’s how it all works.
Betting at a sportsbook inside a casino in Black Hawk
Just like in other states where sports betting is legal, you’ll go into the casino, find the sportsbook and place your bets.
Then you can sit back, relax, have some food or a few drinks, and watch your chosen game, match, race or what have you. This of course assumes that the casino you’re in has a sportsbook, and given the fact that the passage of the law has led to a big backup in approvals, you might have to wait until 2021 or 2022 for your favorite casino in Black Hawk to open its own sportsbook.
Sports betting online
If your goal while on your trip to Black Hawk, Colorado, is to bet on sports, you might need to spend some time playing online instead.
There are a wide variety of sportsbooks available online and via mobile apps that will allow you to place wagers on a variety of sporting events after May 2020, and unlike the casino games like poker or blackjack, you can actually play from anywhere in the state!
That’s right, as long as you have a computer with internet access that’s physically located in the state of Colorado (and that bit is important — it won’t work once you cross state lines), then you can bet on any of the available sports that a sportsbook offers.
To get started, you’ll have to download an app from one of the approved sportsbooks or log in to the website, make a profile, deposit some funds, confirm your age and then wait for approval. You’ll be able to gamble as long as the website or app can confirm that you are located within the state of Colorado.
These sites confirm your location by using the geolocation features of your device, whether that be your mobile device or your computer. One of the things it will check is your IP address, but there are other features that it will check to make sure you are in Colorado.
The software that checks your location is highly sophisticated and will be able to tell if cheaters are trying to spoof their location and gamble from a state where sports betting online or through a mobile app is illegal, so don’t even try to trick these sites and apps.
The best casinos in Black Hawk
While Black Hawk is well known for having some of the best and most lavish casinos in all of Colorado, there are a handful of casinos that truly stand out from the crowd. Here are some of the best that you should definitely check out when you come to stay in Black Hawk.
Lady Luck Casino
Not only is the Lady Luck Casino the very first large casino that was built in Black Hawk, but it’s also got some incredible history — it was used as Colorado Central Station for decades.
There are many incredible features to this casino that make it worth mentioning. Like many casinos in Colorado, the Lady Luck Casino is non-smoking and is open 24/7, but Lady Luck Casino is also known for having some of the highest-quality rooms in all of Black Hawk. The online ratings speak to the fact that this casino is loved by most of its guests, and while of course it doesn’t have a perfect ranking, what casino does?
There are plenty of other reasons to visit Lady Luck Casino, including a restaurant that offers breakfast all day and allows you to see some truly incredible views of the Rocky Mountains while you’re dining. You’ll also find all your favorite casino games here, including slots and video poker.
Even though the Lady Luck Casino is located way up in the mountains, you’ll still find over 400 of the most advanced slot machines in the world in this casino, so if slots are your thing, this is a great casino to visit.
In addition, you’ll find all your favorite table games (well, at least all your favorites that are legally allowed under Colorado gambling laws), and you’ll be pleased to learn that Lady Luck Casino has an excellent players’ club that is always flush with great deals.
Additionally, Lady Luck Casino is connected to another great casino — the Isle Casino Black Hawk — and has a regular shuttle service to Central City (another big gambling hub in Colorado) that’s free to ride.
And if that’s not enough to tickle your fancy, Lady Luck Casino is also extremely close to Eldora Ski Resort, so if you find yourself worn out from sitting at the tables and just want to get out and exercise your body, the ski resort is right there and waiting for you to hit the slopes during ski season (or hike the trails during summer).
Golden Gates Casino — the poker fan’s paradise
For many fans of gambling, poker has been and always will be the king of games — even most amateur gamblers have heard of the World Series of Poker and know all about how Texas Hold ’em works.
So if poker is your thing, then the Golden Gates Casino should be your go-to destination in Black Hawk. Known as Black Hawk’s best poker room (and possibly the best poker room in all of Colorado), the Poker Parlour is known statewide for providing an incredible, action-packed experience.
With 17 tables and a five-table overflow room for tournaments, Golden Gates Casino is the perfect casino for poker fans of all shapes and sizes. You’ll find poker tournaments happening here every single day, and the casino even boasts about the fact that you can earn comps while playing poker here — how many casinos actually advertise their comps? Not many!
Because poker is basically what Golden Gates Casino specializes in, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that it’s the home of the Colorado Poker Championship, a tournament with a prize pool of $500,000 — enough to rival some of the biggest poker championships around.
You’ll also find the Heartland Poker Tour and the Mid-States Poker Tour here (the Heartland Poker Tour is televised and can be watched all over the world). Over the years, tens of millions of dollars have been awarded in this poker room, so it’s definitely worth a visit just to drink in all that good luck!
On top of that, you’ll find more slot machines and video poker machines than even at the Lady Luck Casino — upward of 600 — and you’ll also find plenty of other table games, including blackjack, roulette and craps.
Oh, and despite the name, the casino has no relation to San Francisco — sorry, California fans!
Ameristar Black Hawk
If you’re looking for a gambling experience that feels less like gambling in the Wild West and more like gambling at a high-end casino in Las Vegas, then Ameristar Black Hawk is the casino for you.
Boasting well over 1,200 slots and video poker machines and an incredible spa, Ameristar Black Hawk is aimed at serving the high-class gambling aficionado who takes luxury seriously.
All the machines are state-of-the-art slot or video poker machines and allow you to bet up to $100 in some cases.
As you might imagine, you’ll also find many of the classic table games here, including poker and blackjack, and you’ll actually find more tables here than at Lady Luck or Golden Gates — Ameristar has 40 table games and 22 live poker tables.
Something we really love about Ameristar is the level of opulence you can experience here. First of all, you’re going to find something that you’ll be hard pressed to compare to any other casino in the world — a rooftop pool that lets you look over the Rocky Mountains! If you’ve never had a swim at 8,500 feet, then this is an experience you won’t want to miss.
Beyond the pool, we love the spa. Ara is its full-service day spa that includes hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms, and six treatment rooms for both men and women. You’ll find everything you expect from a high-end spa, including massages, scrubs, facials, manicures and pedicures.
The hotel is also home to a free fitness center for guests who need to get away from the tables for a little bit and get their blood flowing with some of the nicest cardio and weight machines around.
The spa opens early and stays open late (until 9 p.m.), so you can spend your whole day at the poker tables and then relax in the evening with a massage.
Other Black Hawk Casinos