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DENVER-Colorado casinos hit the jackpot in September and October, bucking a national trend that hurt much larger gaming centers such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City. In fact, Las Vegas’ well-publicized losses likely helped the limited stakes casinos in Colorado.

Most of the gaming takes place in the mountain community of Black Hawk, west of Golden, although there also are gaming operations in Central City and Cripple Creek. Experts say that casinos were able to post $56.3 million in October, up 4% from October 2000, because gamblers drive, rather than fly, to Colorado. And in September, gaming adjusted gross proceeds hit $59. 7 million, 10% above the previous September. For seasonal reasons, gaming drops off in October from September.

Although casinos often are considered recession-proof, they’re facing their first big test in Colorado. Since Colorado voters approved limited stakes gaming in three communities more than a decade ago, they’ve been operating in a boom economy. For the first time, they’ll operate in a recession.

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