Central City’s ups and downs

Jul 18, 2005 2:59 AM

Despite the additional business that the new parkway helped fuel in Central City, two casinos that opened earlier this year continue to struggle.

Scarlet’s Casino, which features about 500 slot machines, filed for bankruptcy protection last week, and the same company’s 200-slot parlor in the Teller House ceased operation.

The parent company to both casinos, 3C Gaming, opened the properties in February, expressing optimism that the new parkway would help generate needed business.

Indeed, the parkway has done its job. May gaming revenues in Central City increased 75 percent from last year.

Nevertheless, Central City’s smallest casinos still face stiff competition from their larger cousins in Black Hawk, only a mile away.

"Even with the road, you still have to be frugal with your money or you won’t make it," Terry Houk, general manager of Central City’s Doc Holliday Casino, told the Rocky Mountain News. "If (Scarlet’s) cut expenses, they can probably survive."

Despite Scarlet’s struggles, a new project is well under way in the middle of Central City.

Century Casinos and Tollgate Venture LLC are putting $40 million into a casino with 625 slots, table games, hotel rooms, restaurants and parking garage.

With a new casino, Central City would generate about 10 percent of Black Hawk’s action.

The historic city boomed during the 1800 gold rush. After the prospectors left, the town survived mostly on tourism.