Who says all the good casinos are in Vegas? Denver residents definitely aren’t. With a whole slew of casinos in our own backyard, Denverites can frequent the casinos of Black Hawk and Central City, both located in Gilpin County.
The Black Hawk and Central City Historic District are previous gold mining areas in Colorado. On July 4, 1961, this district was deemed a National Historic Landmark. Buildings have since been restored, but still retain their 20th Century charm.
During the gold mining period, even William Frederick Cody “Buffalo Bill” resided in Black Hawk for a short time (about 2 months) to search for his own fortune. After the Gold Rush era died down, Black Hawk and Central City experienced a dramatic decrease in population as people moved to the new state capitol, Denver. The addition of casinos to the district in 1991 successfully revived these two cities and they remain popular local and tourist attractions today. Thousands of people visit Black Hawk and Central City each year.
The cities of Black Hawk and Central City are in what one might call a “war” over who can generate the most gambling income. Because people coming from the direction of Denver pass through Black Hawk before they get to Central City, Black Hawk receives much more gambling revenue. Black Hawk also employs less strict building codes that put a damper on Central City’s revenues generated from gambling. For example, Central City put a limit to the height in which a building can be built in order to retain the Old West character of the town’s buildings. There is no restriction of this sort at all in Black Hawk where the 33 story Ameristar Hotel and Casino is located. Another reason Black Hawk receives more revenue from its casinos is the fact that Black Hawk has 18 casinos while Central City only has 6.