Colonial Downs reopened yesterday, with a new kind of gambling activity available and hundreds of visitors lined up to take advantage of it.
On April 23rd, the new casino-style facility called Rosie’s Gaming Emporium opened its doors to host the historical parimutuel horse racing machines. The refurbished venue started operation on the year following the decision of Virginia lawmakers to pass a piece of legislation allowing this kind of gambling in the state.
The new Colonial Downs facility hosts 600 historical horse racing machines, a simulcast horse racing, as well as a restaurant and a bar. The money which is to be brought by the terminals is expected to bring a new life to Colonial Downs mainly in August and September when the place is set to host a total of 15 live races for the first time since the racetrack ceased operation in 2014.
As mentioned above, the piece of legislation passed in 2018 authorized historical horse racing terminals as a legal form of gambling in the state of Virginia and cleared the way for the acquisition of the track which is currently known as Colonial Downs Group. According to expectations, the reopened facility will have a great impact on New Kent County, first considering the new jobs which have been created. Apart from that, the refurbished racetrack and gaming venue is expected to bring new tax revenues of $17 million to the county.
New Owners’ Investment in Colonial Downs Could rise to $300 Million by the End of 2019
As revealed by Colonial Downs officials, an overall amount of $175 million has been invested by the new owners of the place, and 450 people were hired so far. Early in May, an off-site betting parlor in Roanoke County is set to start operation, too.
The racetrack officials have also shared expectations that the investment in the place is set to reach $300 million by the end of 2019. They also expect to hire at least 800 people to their premises in the same period. Previously, the chairman of Colonial Downs Group’s owners Peninsula Pacific has shared that the estimated number of people hired in 2019 would be 1,200, including seasonal and part-time workers during the live racing season.
The reopening of the Colonial Downs facility has been part of the ongoing political efforts of Virginia legislators to expand gambling and authorize casinos in the state, although the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission is expected to present a study focused on the issue next fall.
The opponents of gambling expansion have been saying that the gambling expansion would bring benefits to the local gambling industry only. Anti-gambling campaigners have further explained that the addition of new forms of gambling and the expected fresh revenue would not be the panacea that would help the state solve its problems, as the addition of more gambling to the existing gambling sector in Virginia would come with the cost of gambling-related harm and negative influence brought to local communities.