It was a frigid Sunday afternoon in January, when I boarded the shuttle to the casinos in Black Hawk and Central City. Two towns nestled in the foothills above Golden, Colorado. Gambling came to the two mountain communities in 1991.
As I settled, back into my seat all was quiet with the exception of the purring engine of the bus. My thoughts drifted to a story told by my father’s uncle about Aunt Mac. As the story goes:
It was early one morning and the year was 1949, when the citizens were shocked, and the whole mountain community shook. Many of its prominent citizens and business people who ordinarily had nothing to fear found themselves being served with criminal warrants. The ...view middle of the document...
Then the Governor of Colorado got involved and dismissed the charges. Apparently Aunt Mac considered gambling her friend, one she was willing to go to jail for!
Abruptly, I found my thoughts interrupted as the bus driver announced we had arrived in Black Hawk; it was a remarkable sight Black Hawk and Central City had become a mecca of gambling casinos for as far as the eye could see. I was in awe of it all. Marquis were lit up everywhere evoking winning, winning, winning as their mantra. I hurried off the bus my quest had officially begun is gambling a friend or a foe?
With anticipation, I entered the Ameristar casino and suddenly all of my senses came alive. A vast array of aromas tickled my nose the sound of hundreds of slot machines mingled with the laughing people as music blared over the speakers ,rapturing my ears and my mind was reeling as my attention splintered in so many directions, all the while the many lights captivated my eyes.
Finally, I found the cashier’s cage and requested a player’s card. The cashier proceeded to tell me of the benefits of having a player’s card points accrue, free hotel rooms, free food and free money from the casino and the casino mails coupons every month. Free rooms and free food very attractive when Ameristar rents their rooms starting at 200.00 a night and the buffet is 30.00 a person. Ameristar even the name sounds big and it is big 32 stories high and on the top floor is an Olympic size pool along with outdoor hot tubs. The hotel awkwardly dangles high in the air against a backdrop of mountains, splashed with evergreens, leaving the hotel mute by comparison.
Upon leaving the Ameristar, I ventured up the hill where I found a casino called the “Wild Card Saloon: What a contrast from the Ameristar. What stood before me was a faded blue dilapidated building. When I entered the casino the smell of cigarette, smoke and stale liquor penetrated my nostrils. Peanut shells were strewn all along the old clapboard floors. I stood still, in anticipation of someone pulling a six -gun and whooping and hollering while blasting holes in the tarnished ceiling or at the very least a saloon girl posed at the end of the bar. I made my way to the back of the casino to the little general store packed with everything from soup to nuts. It was here I would get my players card and collect my five nickels (won by spinning a wheel). I clutched my five nickels as though I had really won the prize, and headed for a machine. In an instant, my treasure was gone with no return for my efforts
By this time, I am hungry so I headed further up the hill to a place called “Sasquatch.” The minute I entered the building I knew why it was called “Sasquatch” right in front of me stood at least a ten foot “Sasquatch” and all around were more “Sasquatches” diminished only by size. I retreated to the counter to order my meal of course all along the counter were more gambling apparatuses called poker and Keno. When my meal arrived, I was...