The Bulletin

Colonial Downs wants to expand its portfolio of video gambling parlors to Northern Virginia and Danville

By: - May 30, 2019 5:18 pm

Colonial Downs Chief Operating Officer Aaron Gomes demonstrates one of 600 “slot-like” games that will soon fill gambling parlors around the state. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

The owners of Colonial Downs say they’re pursuing voter referendums in Danville and Dumfries that would allow them to open video gambling parlors there.

The group, which won General Assembly approval last year to bring slot-like gambling machines to the state, has already opened one parlor at its horse racing track in New Kent and one outside Roanoke. Two more are under construction – one in Richmond and one in Hampton.

Each location, branded as Rosie’s Gaming Emporium, will host between 150 and 700 historic horse racing games, which look and function like slot machines but rely on randomized results of old races to pick winners.

Under state law, they can only open the parlors in localities where voters have approved off-track wagering, hence the referendum.

“Danville and Dumfries are both vibrant and emerging communities that are looking for the new kind of entertainment in Virginia that Rosie’s delivers,” Colonial Downs said in a statement.

Lawmakers approved the new form of gambling as part of a deal to reopen the track, which is the only one in the state.

The owners estimate they’ll generate $25 million for the horse industry annually, plus another $25 million in state tax revenue and $17 million in local tax revenue.

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Ned Oliver
Ned Oliver

Ned, a Lexington native, has been a fulltime journalist since 2008, beginning at The News-Gazette in Lexington, and including stints at the Berkshire Eagle, in Berkshire County, Mass., and the Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly in Richmond. He is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass. He was named Virginia's outstanding journalist for 2020 by the Virginia Press Association.