Casinos still ‘low stakes’

Jun 26, 2006 3:43 AM

Colorado’s casino industry remains "low stakes" compared to other gaming states in 2005, according to a recent American Gaming Associaton study.

Although the state ranked relatively low last year in terms of casino jobs and revenue as well as customer spending at casinos, it did enjoy increases in those areas.

Black Hawk made the study’s list of top 20 U.S. casino markets by revenue, coming in at No. 17 with 2005 casino revenue of $531.88 million. No. 1 Las Vegas reported $6 billion in casino revenue.

Colorado has 46 commercial casinos in Black Hawk, Central City, Cripple Creek, Ignacio and Towaoc. The Ignacio and Towaoc casinos are tribal-owned.

Jobs at those gaming spots increased 4.2 percent to 8,029 in 2005 from 7,703 the previous year. By comparison, top casino employer Nevada increased those jobs 5.5 percent to 202,209 last year.

Colorado casinos paid a total of $222.94 million in 2005 wages.

When it comes to consumer spending on casino gaming, Colorado was one of two states with spending in the millions of dollars. The nine other states included in the ranking had spending in the billions.

Gamblers here spent $755.5 million in 2005, up 4.1% from 2004. Only South Dakota gamblers spent less, at $83.6 million.