Central City Colorado Casino Guide
Central City Gambling Report - smaller casinos in the city
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Colorado Casino Guide

Welcome to smaller casinos in Central City


Having presented the bigger casinos from Central City in our previous article, we now move on to take a look at some of the smaller establishments. These casinos may be many times smaller than some of the gambling ventures presented in our tour of the Colorado gambling scene, but the spirit of tradition about them is at least as strong, or often stronger than that of the large scale gambling operations.

This is what gives them an edge over the – otherwise much stronger – competition.

The Dostal Alley Brewery and Casino is such a small gambling joint in Central City. It is a place where the locals come to play, have fun, and last, but certainly not least, drink some beer. Dostal Alley has the best beer in the area, and one of the best restaurants as well.

The Italian food is also one of the best around, and the selection of 61 slot machines will satisfy the gambler in you. There’s also video poker, both upstairs and downstairs, with in-house progressives.

The place looks and feels like it’s just been snatched from the past and brought  to the present from the days of the Old West, and it is indeed one of the oldest standing casinos in Central City.

The Famous Bonanza Casino is the sister casino of the Easy Street Casino, presented in our previous article. These two casinos make up a huge bulk of all the gambling going on in Central City.

The Famous Bonanza offers about 250 slot machines, with denominations going from 5 cents to $1. The progressives are in-house ones, unfortunately no live blackjack or poker tables are offered but we kind of grew to expect this from the smaller Colorado casinos.

The famous Bonanza has also been around for quite a while. Though the casino was founded only in 1992, ( the beginning of legalized limited stakes gambling in the state) the Grimes family, - the owners – had had a gift shop ( the Famous Bonanza Gift Shop) working in the building since 1961. They bought the building in 1959.

When the gift shop was transformed into the casino it is today, the family paid careful attention to do all the refurbishment work respecting tradition, and originality.

The name of the casino comes from the period in the city’s history when there was a lot of gold around any many prospectors roaming the area. The gift shop’s mascot was a sculpture of a miner  ( Prospector Pete) whom tourists could photograph themselves with. Nowadays, Prospector Pete has become the mascot of the Miner’s club, the slot club at the Famous Bonanza.

All in all, these are the 5 casinos making up Central City’s gambling universe. It’s not a lot compared to Black Hawk or Cripple Creek, but as we said in our previous article, this situation will probably soon change.

Even if everything stayed exactly the way it is today, Central City, Colorado, would still be one of the best gambling destinations the West has to offer.

The third Colorado gambling town’s ( Cripple Creek’s) history is also closely tied to the existence of mining and mines in the area. The most famous mines of Cripple Creek are: the Magnificent Portland mine, the Fabulous Cresson mine, the Mary McKinney mine, the Elkton mine and the Doctor Jack Pot mine.

The Magnificent Portland mine was founded by Jimmy Burns and Jimmy Doyle of Portland Maine, in 1891. driven by their thirst for adventure and the promises of gold up on Battle Mountain, the two friends barely managed to find an unclaimed piece of  land amid the patchwork of claims that had already been taken.

The funny thing about their prospecting adventure was, that they struck gold before they ever knew it. It was in the shape of sylvanite ore, which is very hard to detect for the untrained eye. The gold was actually discovered by John Harnan, whom the Jimmies asked to take a look at their claim and to whom they promised a third interest in the claim provided he could find a gold vein there.

The history of the Fabulous Cresson mine was just as much the embodiment of the American Dream as Magnificent Portland was.

Owned by Eugene and J.R Harbeck, of Chicago, the mine seemed to be a bottomless pit of despair and a big time money-swallower in the beginning.  Under the watchful eye of  mining engineer Dick Roeloff though, it soon began turning up a nice profit. In 1914, over a 30 day period the mine produced a staggering amount of high quality ore worth 1.2 million dollars at the time.

As the saying goes, there’s still gold in them there mountains, only nowadays, prospectors have been replaced by more or less money hungry gamblers flooding the streets of the town, looking for a different form of gold-ore in the air-conditioned saloons of the casinos of Cripple Creek, Colorado.


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