by Rick Langenberg and Cathy Mahrholz:
Nestled in the shadow of Pikes Peak is the small and remarkable town of Cripple Creek. During the gold rush of the late 1800s, Cripple Creek became one of the biggest economic hubs in the West, as gold seekers and miners flooded the area. Many of these historic turn of the century buildings, the majority of which were constructed following the fires of 1896, still remain.
Local leaders and residents opted for a second gold rush of sorts by trying to revitalize the town and its deteriorating buildings through limited stakes gaming, which began on Oct. 1, 1991. This followed a state-wide campaign and favorable vote by Colorado voters. Another pro-gaming vote occurred in late 2008 that paved the way for 24-hour gambling, $100 single-bet wagers and new games such as Roulette and Craps.
Even with these changes, Cripple Creek strives to preserve the mining heritage of the area and the old Victorian-era flavor of the town. So, even though modern technology, especially in the form of electronic gaming devices, dominates the interior of many of these buildings in the downtown core, the ambiance of this quaint turn-of-the-century town prevails. The casinos in Cripple Creek offer daily, weekly and seasonal promotions. These change often, so check with regular updates in the Mountain Jackpot or check the websites of the local casinos. Plus, the current lineup of casinos has expanded in the last few months.
In addition, Cripple Creek features a culinary and lodging treasure, one of the best kept secrets in town. For example, Cripple Creek abounds with close to 30 restaurants, eateries and coffee shops, all located inside Cripple Creek casinos and within a short walk of the gaming district. Here is a short glimpse of the gaming action, as the town gears up for its 21 year of summer gaming. Due to the frequent changes on the Creek gaming front, we will provide continual updates throughout the year. Check our website www.mountainjackpot.com and our facebook and twitter pages for updates.
Bronco Billy’s Casino
Bronco Billy’s, one of the original gaming properties that opened for business in Oct. 1991, prides itself on outstanding customer service and boasts a loyal following of both local and out-of-town players. It is also regarded as one of the premiere examples of the Colorado gaming experience and has undergone five major expansions. Billy’s abounds with about 750 betting devices and table games, making it one of the largest establishments in town.
And despite undergoing many changes, it has retained the same friendly atmosphere. In fact, Billy’s snagged several top Oscar awards in the most recent “Best of Cripple Creek” contest, sponsored by the Mountain Jackpot newspaper and a number of the company’s managers/employees snagged top honors. Plus, Billy’s recently was named as the best casino, according to the annual “Best of the Springs” contest, sponsored by the Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper. And as the town celebrates 21 years of summer gaming, Billy’s general manager and co-owner Marc Murphy now ranks as the only head operator who manned the same casino in Cripple Creek since the beginning of limited stakes gaming. Moreover, Billy’s is strongly involved with several key summer events, such as Donkey Derby Days and the Salute to American Veterans. In addition, Billy’s is known for its Double Jackpot fever and has gained a niche as a great place for card and dice buffs. It also sports three restaurants, including the popular Steakhouse.
As for upcoming promotions, Bronco Billy’s is kicking off a Great American Summer, and is giving away $500,000 in cash, trips and cars this June, July and August. The casino will feature 12 drawings from 2:45 p.m. until 8:15 p.m. every Saturday, where players spin the Lucky Wheel to win a muscle car (choice of a Dodge Charger, a Ford Mustang or a Chevy Camaro), or a trip to such “Great American” destinations as New York City, Orlando or Las Vegas, or cash. During June, one trip is guaranteed to be given away every Saturday except for the last week of the month during which a muscle car will be the premiere prize. Players can start earning entries on June 1. Billy’s also is doing a Hot Summer Cash, with $50 hot seat drawings on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. More extended drawings are then scheduled for Wednesdays and Fridays. And don’t miss the Great American Summer daily drawings. This summer at 7 p.m., Billy’s will have a daily drawing to spin their Lucky Wheel. Players will have a chance to win a muscle car, a trip or cash every day. For more information about these offerings, check with the Billy’s MVP club. And for acoustic music buffs, Bronco Billy’s features Saturday evening music at The Lounge area, located near the Steakhouse, on Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Lounge will abound with popular local and regional acts, such as Crosser Davis, Mango Fan Django, The Storys and Ceol Ceili.
Triple Crown Casinos
Brass Ass 689-2104
Midnight Rose Hotel & Casino 689-2446
JP McGill’s Hotel & Casino 719-689-0303
The Triple Crown Casinos, all located right next door to each other on Bennett Avenue, include the Brass Ass, the Midnight Rose and McGill’s Hotel and Casino. The Triple Crown Casinos combine state-of-the-art gaming technology with friendly service and unique décor; not to mention four distinct restaurants, great lodging and a covered parking garage. Altogether, these three casinos feature more than 950 betting devices and table games and the largest collection of high limit slot machines in town. With a Triple Play Club card, guests can earn cash back points, comps toward hotel rooms and dinner, match play on table games, prizes, cash giveaways, and much more.
Each casino maintains its own distinctive style.
The Brass Ass features old town street scene décor and hand painted murals showcasing the beautiful scenery in this part of Colorado. It is named for the life size brass ass displayed in the table games area which is one of the original brass donkeys that launched boats with a well placed kick at the 1893 World Exposition in Chicago. In addition to video poker and slot machines, the Brass Ass offers live action Blackjack, High Five Poker, Craps and Roulette seven days a week. The Brass Ass, Cripple Creek’s oldest casino, is home to 240 slot machines which include in house progressives and video poker.
The Midnight Rose, meanwhile, has two floors of gaming with over 400 slot machines and an unprecedented poker room. When visiting the Midnight Rose, don’t forget to stop by the Down Under Restaurant for the amazing Prime Rib and Seafood Buffet. Or if you prefer a more casual dining experience, head upstairs to Dynamite Dick’s where breakfast is served all day.
McGill’s boasts exceptional variety and excitement, with a combination of video poker, slot and progressive machines. It is one of the most spacious casinos in historic Cripple Creek, designed for comfort, excitement and convenience. The mezzanine overlooks the main level of the casino and has some of the hottest games in town. McGill’s offers gaming on over 300 slot machines, progressives and video poker. Stop by McGill’s old world Pint and Platter Restaurant for a cold pint of beer and delicious pub fare.
The Triple Crown Casinos are not lacking in great promotions and enticements for regular players. Throughout each month, everyone who wins a hand paid jackpot of $500.00 or more, is automatically entered into a cash drawing that grows with each jackpot. Jackpot Party drawings are held the first Saturday of the following month between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Participants must be present to win, and if the Grand Prize winner is not present, the Grand Prize cash amount will be rolled over to the following month’s Jackpot Party. Triple Crown Casinos were also the sponsor of the Triple Crown Cup (Men’s Golf Competition, similar in format to the FedEx Cup) at the Shining Mountain Golf Club last summer.
Big Jim’s Gambling Hall & Saloon
Big Jim’s is one of the newest casinos in the heart of Cripple Creek on Bennett Avenue. Big Jim’s is located in the Imperial Building at 279 Bennett Ave. Big Jim’s offers two floors of fast action gaming entertainment from the newest video slots to classic reel games. Big Jim’s also features live Blackjack games in the popular Big Jim’s Whiskey Pit, located on the 2nd floor.
The casino is led by Jim Druck, the personable, owner and General Manager. Since it opened for business in 2011, Big Jim’s has gained a niche for its fun atmosphere and touts itself as the REAL thing in Cripple Creek.
Great deals await players through the Big Jim’s REAL rewards club with Awesome Promotions, like their $20,000 Great American Cash Giveaway this July, along with Great Player’s parties most Saturdays and incredible accommodations at the newly remodeled Imperial Hotel. Gaming patrons and visitors have also reveled over the casino’s Rockin J’s Café, featuring all day breakfast, fresh real turkey and awesome burgers and sliders. This restaurant, donned with a few classic guitars, gives Big Jim’s an authentic flavor and has received stellar reviews. The action at Big Jim’s got even bigger with a new expansion, The Vault at Big Jim’s in 2012. This has provided Big Jim’s with an additional room for more betting devices.
Come experience the REAL Thing at Big Jim’s!
Johnny Nolon’s Casino
In the heart of Cripple Creek’s gaming district, this casino is named for an enterprising young man ,who, after a stint riding for the famed Pony Express, arrived in Cripple Creek at the height of the Gold Rush in 1891. Observing that the town, already billed as the world’s greatest gold camp, lacked a good saloon and gambling house, Nolon seized the opportunity, and opened an establishment to fill the void. Nolon ran a successful gambling house and saloon for 14 years. During this time his establishment gained a reputation for level pool tables, clean spittoons, good liquor and fine cigars. Billed as the “gentleman’s popular resort,” mining magnates such as Stratton, Penrose and Tutt frequented Johnny Nolon’s.
Boasting over 250 gaming machines, including video poker, Johnny Nolon’s is known for its slogan, “where the slots are looser!”
Colorado Grande Casino
The Colorado Grande Casino is housed in the historic Fairley Brothers & Lampman building. Constructed around 1900, the structure has been home to a variety of businesses over the years including a drug store, a doctor’s office, a millinery and a lawyer’s office.
With the advent of limited stakes gaming in Cripple Creek, the Colorado Grande first opened its doors in 1991. The casino has since gained a reputation as one of the best small to medium sized casinos in town. Colorado Grande was purchased in 2012 by G Investments LLC, a group formed by David Minter, the managing partner and head operator of Johnny Nolon’s Casino. Minter also previously served as the general manager of the Colorado Grande, when he first arrived in Cripple Creek. He has referred to the Grande as one of his favorite casinos to manage
In the areas of gaming, management and promotions. The Colorado Grande has featured a combination of the Grande quality gaming experience, Maggie’s restaurant, the winner of numerous “Best Of” awards by the Mountain Jackpot readers, and an assortment of some of the best hotel rooms in Cripple Creek. Maggie’s restaurant, located downstairs from the gaming action at the Colorado Grande and with a separate street entrance, is well known to locals and visitors alike as a great place to get a bite to eat. The menu is extensive, and Maggie’s prides itself on being family friendly.
Century Casino Cripple Creek
www.cnty.com or cripple-creek.cnty.com 689-0333
Century Casino is located on the corner of Bennett and Second, in the heart of Cripple Creek, features a diverse gaming experience, including slot machines, roulette and live action card games. Many players enjoy the spacious atmosphere at Century. Plus, Century’s food and culinary offerings, highlighted by the Mid City Grill, now features a new menu.
Century, which abounds with about 450 betting devices and table games, has established a reputation as the “Winner’s Zone.” This winning trend is bound to continue. And to up the ante on the lodging front, Century has done an ambitious remodel of the vintage side of their hotel property and now features 14 great rooms and four suites. And for forthcoming promotions, Century Casino is doing a Summer Fun $30,000 progressive giveaway every Friday and Saturday, featuring random progressive cash drawings. The casino also will be hosting a pre-platinum weekend celebration on June 14-16, with 3X points all weekend long and a “We Love Dads” special on June 16. Other popular regular promotions include Century’s Bingo Wednesdays, Senior Days, Jackpot Parties and 2 Fer Tuesdays.
Double Eagle Hotel and Casino
The Double Eagle Hotel and Casino is housed in a newer building that was completed about ten years ago. The structure was designed to reflect the historic architecture of the other, much older buildings on Bennett Avenue in Cripple Creek . It was built entirely of red brick, the method of construction popular around the 1900s after fires so often destroyed wooden homes and businesses.
The Double Eagle Hotel and Casino offers patrons a wide variety of slot machines, table games, restaurants and overnight accommodations. If you are a fan of vehicle give aways, the Double Eagle seems to offer more drawings for cars than any other casino in town. Recently, two Fiat 500s and a Dodge muscle car were awarded to some lucky visitors to Cripple Creek
Opening in the summer of 2008, the Wildwood is the only gaming establishment in Cripple Creek located away from the cluster of casinos on Bennett Avenue . The Wildwood greets visitors to the area at the “Gateway to Cripple Creek ” when arriving in town via Hwy 67.
The Wildwood boasts ample convenient parking. Choose either an outdoor parking lot just steps away from the main entrance or a covered parking garage with a nearby elevator to whisk you up to the gaming floor. The brick building that houses the Wildwood was designed as a tribute to the railroad industry, so crucial to the area during the Gold Rush of the late 1800s and early 1900s. As you enter through the main entrance, notice the curving wall with enormous two story windows the overlook Hwy 67. It is easy to see how this resembles a railroad roundhouse. This portion of the building houses the main restaurant for the casino.
Besides playing games of chance, Cripple Creek offers a unique experience for anyone who visits this quaint little mountain town. The entire area is rich with history, and the flavor of the old west will permeate your visit to this friendly little city. Enjoy the fun and excitement of gaming, and take time to explore some of the history of the area. There are shops, museums and the Cripple Creek Heritage Center in addition to the colorful casinos.