COVID-19 Puts an End to the Sale of Colorado’s Wildwood Casino

  • Saratoga Harness Racing was set to purchase the casino from the American Gaming Group
  • Both parties agreed to terminate the deal because of difficulties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The deal was originally struck on March 11, just before casinos across the United States began to close
Contract with red "CANCELLED" stamp
The planned sale of the Wildwood Casino in Colorado has been cancelled after both parties were negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Cancellation of the deal

The planned sale of the Wildwood Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado has been cancelled. Saratoga Harness Racing was set to buy the property from the American Gaming Group (AGG), but both businesses have been negatively impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and have agreed to terminate the purchasing agreement. 

Wildwood Casino owner Joe Canfora spoke about the dissolution of the deal, saying: “At this time, we believe it’s in the best interest of both companies, and our respective casinos, to cancel the deal so we can focus on doing what’s best for our casinos and our players.”

the facility is putting in place extensive new health and safety protocols

As the Wildwood Casino gets ready to reopen, Canfora reiterated that the facility is putting in place extensive new health and safety protocols, even above what is required by local and state guidelines. This will ultimately help create a gaming environment that is safe and comfortable for players. 

Origins of the sale

Saratoga Harness Racing initially committed to acquire Wildwood Casino on March 11, shortly before the pandemic began to spread widely across the United States. Most of the country’s tribal and commercial casinos have been closed since mid-March. 

Casino companies have felt the strain of these closures. Some casinos will not be able to reopen for business again, while others survived by furloughing workers and cutting dividends. Other transactions involving casino companies also appeared to be in jeopardy, such as the planned merger between Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, but Eldorado officials have said the deal is still on track.

There is no clear indication as to when the commercial casinos in Colorado will be able to reopen. 

Background of the two parties

In March, Wildwood Casino signed a deal with sports betting technology provider ISI Race & Sports. The casino was given approval from the Limited Gaming Control Commission in Colorado for a master sports betting license. The first legal sportsbooks in the state opened on May 1, 2020

Wildwood still plans to build a new 104-room hotel that will cost $14m

Despite the sale falling through, Wildwood still plans to build a new 104-room hotel that will cost $14m and rebrand its restaurant, Joe’s Diner.

The casino was in the news for the wrong reasons in September 2019 when a former employee filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the venue.

Saratoga Harness Racing is the operator of the Saratoga Casino Black Hawk in Colorado and the Saratoga Casino Hotel in Saratoga Springs, New York.