Ten casinos fined by state

Lakewood – Century Casino in Central City was hit with a USD 100,000 fine today for shoddy accounting practices that have prevented regulators from verifying the property’s revenues since it opened in July.

The casino, fined USD 87,500 in September for having illegal slot machines, will also shut down for one day as part of an agreement with the Colorado Division of Gaming.

In addition, the state hit nine other casinos with fines ranging from USD 250 to USD 8,500 for having defective slot machines.

Further, regulators said the Virgin Mule in Cripple Creek is under investigation for a rash of violations, including insufficient surveillance of its property.

The violations and fines were disclosed during the monthly meeting of the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Board, which oversees the Gaming Division.

Regulators have been unable to verify Century Casino’s revenues and tax returns because the casino has „had difficulty preparing the required statistical reports,“ said Ceri Williams, assistant Attorney General.

Colorado Springs-based Century Casinos, which also operates two casinos in Cripple Creek, is the majority owner of the Central City property.

Larry Hannappel, senior vice president of Century Casinos, attributed the property’s problems to start-up and staffing issues. He said the casino has had a hard time filling positions.

From July to Sept. 30, the casino had a net loss of USD 405,000 on revenue of USD 4.7 million, according to a regulatory filing. The casino has cut its staff 212 to 183.

The company said in the filing that the casino’s „revenues are below what we have initially projected.“

Nine other casinos were fined a total USD 22,200 for having 58 defective slots. In many cases, regulators had asked the casinos to remove the slots more than a year ago because they had software that could cause the machines to inadvertently clear its memory.

The fines were:

In Black Hawk – Bull Durham Saloon & Casino, USD 1,000 for four slots; Golden Gulch Casino, USD 8,500 for 19 slots; Silver Hawk Casino, USD 7,000 for 14 slots; and Red Dolly, USD 1,500 for six slots.

In Central City – Easy Street Casino, USD 250 for one slot; Famous Bonanza Casino, USD 250 for one slot.

In Cripple Creek – Bronco Billy’s Sports Bar & Casino, USD 1,200 for four slots; Creeker’s Casino, USD 500 for two slots; and Legends Casino, USD 2,000 for seven slots. Legends is owned by Century Casinos.

Five other casinos were fined for similar slot violations in August and September.

A recent review by The Post found that Colorado has the fewest officials assigned to oversee slot machines per device among the states that have commercial casinos.

Jim Alderden, chairman of the gaming-control board, said the board plans to review the staffing levels next year. He said a new policy change enacted in May seems to be helping. The change puts the burden on the casinos to check their new machines for compliance, freeing regulators to do spot checks on older machines. Regulators also check every new machine within 90 days.

„It’s a relatively new process,“ Alderden said. „We have to give it a chance.“

Alderden said he was more concerned about the violations committed by Century and Virgin Mule. „Those two casinos seem to have significant problems,“ he said.

The Virgin Mule, the state’s smallest casino with 34 slot machines, could face a fine or a suspension of gaming licenses for the property and its management for its violations, said Gaming Division director Ron Kammerzell.