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 celebrates 21 years of gaming this fall. Due to the frequent changes on the Creek gaming front, we will offer continual casino, lodging and restaurant updates. Also, our new Best Of Cripple Creek survey results (which will be published during the next few weeks) may provide some helpful information. Check our website www.mountainjackpot.com and our facebook page 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. And as the town celebrates 21 years of gaming, Marc Murphy, Billy’s well-known general manager and co-owner now ranks as the only head operator in Cripple Creek who manned the same casino since the beginning of limited stakes gaming.
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 sponsoring a “Dress in Your Elvis Best” Halloween costume gala on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. The contest will feature a $500 first place cash prize and $300 for second place and $200 for third place. All participants will receive dinner for two at Baja Billy’s. And in November, Bronco Billy’s will again feature a $68,000 turkey Shoot. Every Saturday in November, you’ll have a chance to shoot at the turkey bulls-eye and win from $100 to $1,000. Plus, in an unprecedented move for Cripple Creek casinos, Bronco Billy’s is teaming up with the Brass Ass, part of the Triple Crown Casinos chain, for a joint November-December table games giveaway. Beginning Nov. 1, you can earn entries with table games play at either or both casinos to be eligible for drawings on Saturday, Dec. 22 from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. A total of $10,000 will be awarded to various participants. Bronco Billy’s also is counting down to the End of the World (at least according to the ancient Mayan calendar) and is celebrating this occasion by giving away plenty of money in November every day at special hot seats. For example, Billy’s will give away $1,000 every Sunday, Monday,Tuesday and Thursday by $100 hot seats approximately every 30 minutes from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. And on Fridays, the casino will give away $3,000 by $100 hot seats approximately every 20 minutes from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Doomsday proponents may be in luck. Other key promotions include Football Pik ‘Ems and the Jackpot Jamboree. For more information, check with the Bronco Billy’s MVP booth.
Century Casino Cripple Creek
www.cnty.com or cripple-creek.cnty.com
Century Casino is located on the corner of Bennett and Second, in the heart of Cripple Creek, features 24-hour gaming, 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, have received rave reviews. The Mid City Grill is also known for its early bird breakfast and even free breakfast specials. In addition, free lunch specials are provided to seniors on Mondays & Wednesdays.
Century, which abounds with about 450 betting devices and table games, has established a reputation as the “Winners’ Zone.” This winning trend is bound to continue. And to up the ante on the lodging front, Century has embarked on an ambitious remodel of the vintage side their hotel property. Century is replacing eight old rooms with three great rooms and two suites.
And as part of a special promotion this weekend, Century Casino is giving away a Ford Focus on Oct. 27, guaranteed! Plus, is giving $1,000 in cash to two other lucky winners. The casino will have $200 cash giveaways every half hour staring at noon. Don’t miss out on this fun event. Other popular regular promotions include Century’s Bingo Wednesdays, Early Bird Breakfast, Jackpot Parties, 2 Fer Tuesdays (All day, players can get such bonuses as 2xPoints, 2x Jackpot Party Entries, and so forth every Tuesday.) Check with their website at www.cnty.com for details and for forthcoming promotions.
Triple Crown Casinos
Brass Ass 719 689-2104
Midnight Rose 719 689-2446
JP McGills 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 JP McGills 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, representing about 22 percent of the local market, according to new figures released by the city of Cripple Creek.
And 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 front window; 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. The Brass Ass, Cripple Creek’s oldest casino, is home to 187 slot machines, and boasts an extensive collection of nickel slots including Colorado Nickels. And the casino is known for Ass Kickin’ Double Jackpots. There are in house progressives and video poker as well. Live action gaming including Craps, Roulette, High Five Poker and Blackjack is offered seven days a week at The Brass Ass Casino. Patrons can enjoy free hot dogs, popcorn and non-alcoholic beverages while playing at the Brass Ass.
The Midnight Rose, meanwhile, has two floors of gaming and an unprecedented poker room, JP McGills boasts exceptional variety and excitement, with a combination of video poker, slot and progressive machines. One of the most spacious casinos in historic Cripple Creek, JP McGills is designed for comfort, convenience and excitement. The mezzanine overlooks the main level of the casino and has some of the hottest games in town. JP McGills offers gaming on over 300 slot machines, progressives and video poker. With a Triple Play Club card, guests can earn points for prizes and cash giveaways.
The Triple Crown Casinos are not lacking in great promotions and enticements for regular players. It also was the sponsor of the Triple Crown Cup (Men’s Golf Competition, similar in format to the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup) at the Shining Mountain Golf Club last summer. Here are a few upcoming highlights:
Smashing Pumpkins Giveaway
Halloween is just around the corner and it’s time for the Smashing Pumpkins Giveaway at the Midnight Rose! Up to $200 will be given away in each drawing, and patrons can collect points as well. The top ten earners win additional cash, with $5000 going to the first place winner.
Pigskin and Poker
Or maybe you may want to try your luck at Pigskin and Poker with the arrival of football season. The Midnight Rose offers guests the opportunity to join the fun with Pigskin and Poker. Play two hours of live action, or a final table on Sunday to earn a weekly Pick’em Card. The top five Pick’em Cards win their share of $500.00 and all Pick’em Cards are entered into the final drawing on Sunday January 6, 2013 for cash and prizes.
Big Daddy Poker Tournament
For a $250 buy in, on the last Sunday of each month, guests are invited to participate in this Poker tournament.
Throughout each month, everyone who wins a hand paid jackpot of $500 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.
For more details, check regular advertisements in the Mountain Jackpot or visit their main website, www.triplecrowncasinos.com. or the website of TMJ www.mountainjackpot.com.
Johnny Nolon’s Casino
On Bennett Avenue, in the heart of downtown Cripple Creek, gaming enthusiasts can imagine they are stepping back in time when entering Johnny Nolon’s Saloon & Gambling Emporium.
The casino’s namesake, a rider for the famed Pony Express, arrived in Cripple Creek at the start of the gold rush in 1891. Nolon observed that the town, already billed as the world’s greatest gold camp, lacked a good saloon and gambling house. Nolon seized the opportunity, and for 14 years operated an establishment famous for level pool tables, clean spittoons and good liquor and fine cigars. Billed as the “gentlemen’s popular resort,” mining magnates such as Stratton, Penrose and Tutt frequented Johnny Nolon’s.
Now, boasting over 250 gaming devices, including video poker, Johnny Nolon’s is known for its slogan, “where the slots are looser!” And the casino continues its dedication to quality service and entertainment. Johnny Nolon’s also has teamed up with the Cripple Creek Inn to offer players the best affordable accommodations in Cripple Creek. And don’t miss such popular offerings as Senior Lunch Mondays, Royal Flush Tuesday, Wednesday Hot Seat Drawings, Slot Bonus Thursday and Jackpot Only Drawings.
Colorado Grande Casino
Colorado Grande was purchased last summer 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
Big improvements are occurring at the Colorado Grande, especially in the areas of gaming, management and promotions. The Colorado Grande, which opened in Oct. 1991, has been known as one of the best small to medium-sized casinos in town. It 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.
The Colorado Grande recently added more than 80 new betting devices, according to city officials.
The Rush Casino
The Rush casino, located at the corner of Second and Bennett inside a popular facility that once housed the Gold Rush, opened for business in mid-August. The Rush represents Cripple Creek’s first substantial new casino project since the summer of 2008.
The Rush features close to 250 slot machines, encompassing the newest games in town and old favorites. It also sports three blackjack tables, a 3-card poker table and six (regular) poker tables, which may be moved to a separate room outside the casino facility sometime next year. Within the near future, the casino plans to house about 350 betting devices and games and have roulette and craps. The Rush features approximately 14 hotel rooms and several two-bedroom suites, along with a full-service restaurant, The Reserve, which has received rave reviews for its buffets and special premiere dishes. The Rush also plans to open the 900-seat Palladium and host quality shows at this popular amphitheater.
The Rush is owned by the Denver-based Partners L.L.C. group, which has worked on this project for about 20 months. The Rush ownership group plans to take an active role in the day-to-day operations of the casino. “One thing that will really set us apart is that the owners of The Rush will be on site,” said Joanna Walters, a co-owner and chief operating officer of The Rush. “We will be very involved in the operations of the casino and look forward to meeting and talking to our customers.” In addition, The Rush has prided itself on some innovative promotions and giveaways, such as a Beat the Owners competition. Its grand opening, held at the end of August and early September, featured thousands of dollars in cash prizes.
Big Jim’s Gambling Hall & Saloon
Big Jim’s is one of the newest casinos to enter the Cripple Creek gaming lineup. Big Jim’s, which celebrated its grand opening in August 2011, is located inside the newly renovated Imperial Hotel building that offers a great restaurant, lounge, live theater, and some new rooms and suites. Big Jim’s offers two floors of fast action slots from the newest and latest to the classics. It also features live table games, with its popular Big Jim’s Whiskey Pit.
The casino is led by Jim Druck, the personable, owner, head manager and former operator of the Gold Rush and Uncle Sam’s casinos. Since it opened for business, Big Jim’s has gained a niche for its fun atmosphere and touts itself as the REAL thing.
Great deals await players through the Big Jim’s REAL rewards club. Gaming patrons and visitors have also reveled over the casino’s Rockin J’s Café, featuring fresh real turkey cooked daily 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. Recently, the action at Big Jim’s got even bigger with a new expansion into the former Virgin Mule establishment. This has provided Big Jim’s with an additional 51 betting devices.
Double Eagle Hotel and Casino
The Double Eagle Hotel and Casino offers patrons a wide variety of slot machines, table games, restaurant options and overnight accommodations. Join the Premier Club and receive all the benefits and perks of club membership.
Also, don’t miss the Double Eagle Car and Cash Giveaways. Enter to win a brand new 2013 Chevy Sonic or cash giveaways. The drawings will be held on Saturday, November 3, 2012 between 2 p.m and 10:00 p.m. All October entries are eligible to win.
A new Chevy Silverado or a cash giveaway could be yours! Saturday October 27 between 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. is when drawings will be held. Easy Entries every day at the Double Eagle Casino allow patrons to be eligible for all cash and car giveaways. Earn 500 points on your Premier Club Card and receive a free meal and 50 entries in the Saturday Cash and Car giveaways.
The Wildwood casino opened in the summer of 2008 and is the only gaming establishment located away from the cluster of casinos on Bennett Avenue. The Wildwood Casino greets visitors at the “Gateway to Cripple Creek” when driving into town via Hwy. 67.
The Wildwood boasts a large outdoor parking lot near the front doors, visible as you enter town. Ample covered parking is also available at the casino; look for the entrance to the underground garage just past their parking lot. The elevator from the parking garage will take you right up to the casino! The Wildwood combines 24-hour gaming with the glitz and glamour of a Las Vegas-style casino, with all of the gambling action occurring on a single floor. It features about 550 slots, video poker machines and a variety of live action table games, including poker. Here are some of the highlights of forthcoming promotions at the Wildwood:
Loot for Life
Until October 28, 2012, guests at the Wildwood Casino may enter Loot for Life for the chance to win $100.00 a week for the rest of your life. Each day of play earns an entry to Loot for Life, with triple entries on Wednesdays, daily hot seats, and additional entries for points earned. The Grand Prize Drawing will be held Sunday October 28 at 7:00 p.m.
Wild Game Day Giveaway
Until October 26, for each day of play, guests earn an entry to win in the Wild Game Day Giveaway. The grand prize drawings of two passes to Mile High Stadium for the November 18 game plus $100.00 spending cash will be awarded Friday October 26 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Dress to Kill
Saturday October 27, wear a wild costume and win wild loot! Enter to win by 10:15 that night for prizes of $100.00 for Scariest and Sexiest, and $200.00 will be awarded to the Best Overall. Winners will be announced at 10:30 p.m.
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.