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Virginia Racing Commission Grants Racing and Gambling Operation Licenses to Colonial Downs Track Owner

Live thoroughbred horse racing will get back to Colonial Downs in 2019, along with the official opening of a New Kent County-based gambling facility.

The Thursday meeting of the Virginia Racing Commission ended up with the group which purchased Colonial Downs earlier in 2018 finally receiving racing and gambling licenses from the state regulator. The ownership group which operates as a partnership of several entities mostly based in the Midwest has revealed plans of 15 days of live racing in 2019 which is to be held from August 8th to September 7th, with the weekly schedule including three days of races.

The new casino-like gambling facility has to open before the first race takes place in August, with the operator also planning to launch the so-called historical racing machines, which are situated at the track’s grandstand and actually allow customers to make bets by using the gambling devices, in April 2019.

Earlier in December, the ownership group submitted its amended licenses applications to the Virginia Racing Commission, and it was expected to receive a permission by the regulator. The General Manager and Vice-President of Colonial Downs, John Marshall, described the permission as an exciting step forward for everyone engaged with the fate of live racing in the state of Virginia. He further shared that significant progress has been made by the group which has been devoted to turning Colonial Downs into one of the best destinations for racing.

Horse Racing Returns to Colonial Downs in 2019

The return of horse racing to Colonial Downs has been possible largely thanks to the fact that the General Assembly passed a piece of legislation under which betting on the terminals was greenlighted again in the state. As mentioned above, the service involves gaming machines which are very similar to slots and allow people to bet on races which have already started.

The new gambling facility that is to open in the state, is called “Rosie’s gaming emporium” and is expected to start operation around the middle of April 2019. The owner of the project has still not released additional information about the venue to date.

Colonial Downs officials have revealed plans to offer $300,000 to $500,000 in purses on a daily basis in 2019 – a strategy which could sky-rocket the place among the top racing destinations in the US. Purses will be funded by revenues from the gambling machines under an agreement with the state’s horsemen, which also got the Virginia Racing Commission’s approval, too.

Colonial Downs saw a horse race take place in 2013, with the previous owners of the track surrendering their operating license in 2014. Earlier in 2018, an acquisition deal was reached, with the current owners fighting to get monopoly rights for the track to operate the historical racing machines and to later expand their presence to no more than 10 off-track betting facilities in Virginia. Also, the track new owners intend to install 700 terminals each at three locations in the most densely populated areas of the state by the end of 2018. So far, the local racing regulator has permitted a maximum number of 3,000 machines to be operated statewide.

 Author: Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace has been part of our team since the website was launched. She has a master’s degree in IT.