Historic Colorado towns - changed forever by casinos
Crime has become a growth industry in the historic Colorado mining towns of Cripple Creek and Black Hawk since limited-stakes casinos were approved in 1990, according to the Rocky Mountain News. After casinos opened, traffic counts jumped more than 400 percent on the approach to Black Hawk, and drunken-driving arrests increased around the towns.
BLACK HAWK Norman Blake doesn't enjoy the view from his front porch nowadays. "When I sit and look at that mountain ... Why, it's not a mountain anymore," said Blake, 81, who lives in his grandfather's house while the town changes around him. "They cut all the trees down and took out the old railroad grade for a road and that was part of our history." Blake said Black Hawk casinos and town government are in cahoots "to do everything they can to get rid of us old-timers. They want to come up here and make money, but they don't want to live here." Black Hawk casinos are booming, but many longtime townspeople have moved out.
The report, obtained by The Denver Post last month, accuses Black Hawk government and casino officials of blocking Central City from building a $40 million highway by buying up land tied to the road plan. Officials allegedly misspent $50,000 of public money, abused their authority and then covered up their efforts.
"What we want to do is hold the city council's feet to the fire on what they're doing with that money, not tell them how to spend it,'' said Donald W. Rosen, chief financial officer of J.P. McGills Casino and a member of the Cripple Creek Casino Association. "We need to fill those (vacant) storefronts,'' "We need more rubber-tomahawk shops. You can't buy a dress in this town. There is no grocery store. If you want to buy a bottle of milk, it's an event. There is one barber shop in town. But it's a three-week wait.''