Michael Gaughan III’s Rocky Mountain Gaming acquires two Colorado casinos

December 13, 2023 2:16 PM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • David McKee, CDC Gaming Reports
December 13, 2023 2:16 PM

Las Vegas casino veteran Michael Gaughan III, in partnership with Joseph Canfora and David D. Ross, has announced the purchase of a pair of Colorado locals casinos. Their Rocky Mountain Gaming has struck deals with David J. Minter to purchase the operating assets of Colorado Grande Casino and of Johnny Nolan’s Casino, both in Cripple Creek.

The move is a return to the Rocky Mountain State by Canfora, who formerly owned the Wildwood Casino, which he sold to Golden Nugget last year. “I was surprised when David [Ross] and Michael first approached me with the opportunity to get back into the Cripple Creek market,” Canfora told PR Newswire. 

“After thinking about it,” Canfora continued. “I realized that Johnny Nolon’s and Colorado Grande presented the opportunity to maintain the old Cripple Creek casino feel that the locals had grown accustomed to.” The move comes mere days before Full House Resorts opens massive Chamonix in the Colorado mountain town.

Slots-only Johnny Nolan’s boasts 6,000 square feet of gambling space. Between them, the two properties have seven hotel rooms. Both Johnny Nolon’s and Colorado Grande enjoy three-and-a-half-star ratings on Trip Advisor.

Ross and Gaughan have worked together for three decades, according to the announcement. The Gaughan family currently owns the popular South Point resort in Las Vegas and a high-holding slot route at Harry Reid International Airport.

“The Cripple Creek market is growing rapidly with Golden Nugget bringing in an anchor restaurant like Salt Grass, and the opening of Chamonix this month,” said Ross in a formal statement. “Those two operators, at either end of the town, will help attract new visitors to Cripple Creek, and we think there’s an opportunity for our properties to offer a true locals experience that caters to individuals looking for loose slots and personal service.”

The departing Minter added, “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished at these two casinos over the years. While other casinos were coming and going, and changing owners, we were a constant in this town. I look forward to seeing what Rocky Mountain Gaming … brings to these casinos I love so much.” The deal was packaged by Innovation Capital.