Colonial Downs Launches Voter Referendum Efforts To Allow Pari-Mutuel Wagering In New Virginia County

by | 05.30.2019 | 3:45pm

Colonial Downs Group announced today the submission of paperwork with the clerks of court in the jurisdictions of Danville and Dumfries (Prince William County) to initiate the process of voter referendums to allow pari-mutuel wagering at satellite facilities in accordance with the state code of Virginia.

“Since we announced the re-opening of Colonial Downs in New Kent County and the revitalization of thoroughbred horse racing in Virginia, a number of communities have expressed interest in opening a Rosie's to create jobs and tax revenue for their residents,” said Aaron Gomes, chief operating officer of Colonial Downs Group. “Danville and Dumfries are both vibrant and emerging communities that are looking for the new kind of entertainment in Virginia that Rosie's delivers. Those are the kinds of communities in which we want to be located, and we're excited to go out and share with voters in both localities what we're about and what we do and let them decide if they'd like to be home to one of our facilities.”

The Virginia General Assembly approved the introduction of Historical Horse Racing (HHR) machines featured at all Rosie's locations during its 2019 session. Revenues generated through the slots-like HHR machines are enabling the return of live thoroughbred horse racing to Virginia. The first day of live racing at Colonial Downs in New Kent County will be August 8.

Per Virginia law, localities that have not already approved pari-mutuel wagering require a voter referendum before a pari-mutuel facility can be located in their community. To place a referendum on the ballot, signatures from at least 5% of qualified voters in each community must be submitted to, and certified by, the General Registrar. The local Circuit Court will then officially decree that the referendum will appear on the ballot. Upon court approval of today's petitions, Colonial Downs Group will coordinate signature drives in both communities.

“World class horse racing is returning to Virginia, and we could not be more excited. When new communities approve pari-mutuel gaming at facilities within their borders, it will lift up the horse industry statewide, ensure more races at Colonial Downs, and generate new jobs and revenue in these localities and all across Virginia,” said Debbie Easter, president of the Virginia Equine Alliance. “Our partnership with the Colonial Downs Group is a strong one, and we hope the voters of Danville and Dumfries will help this partnership to grow even further by voting yes for pari-mutuel wagering and gaming this November.”

Colonial Downs Group opened its first Rosie's Gaming Emporium at Colonial Downs with 600 HHR machines in April 2019 and its second Rosie's in Vinton with 150 HHR machines in May. The next Rosie's with 700 HHR machines will open in Richmond in June. A Rosie's is under construction in Hampton with a planned opening in the fall. Each Rosie's also features simulcast horseracing, restaurant, bar and gift shop. The Virginia Racing Commission has currently established a statewide cap of 3,000 HHR machines.

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