Dumfries Town Council Approves New Plan For Opening Gaming Resort

Dumfries Town Council Approves New Plan For Opening Gaming Resort
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

The Town of Dumfries approved a “proffer” amendment earlier this week that will allow Churchill Downs to add additional games at The Rose gaming resort currently under construction in Prince William County, Va.

During a special public meeting held on Tuesday, Dumfries council members met with the management of horse racing and casino gaming giant Churchill Downs to discuss changes in the proffer amendment. The proffer was submitted to the town by Colonial Downs, LLC. Churchill Downs became the parent company of Colonial Downs in 2022 and is now heading up The Rose gaming resort.

The gaming resort under construction in Dumfries is located on the side of the former Potomac Landfill bordered by Virginia Route 234 and Interstate 95. The groundbreaking was held in January 2022 and was expected to be open and operating by now.

The facility will provide hotel rooms, and restaurants, host special events, provide meeting space for companies, and a gaming floor packed with Historical Horse Racing (HHR) machines for gamblers across the Virginia sports betting scene.

HHR machines are very similar to traditional casino slot machines. Winning jackpots on a HHR machine are determined by randomly selecting a horse race from a historical database to see if the player wins. Standard casino slot machines hit winning combinations based on a Random Number Generator, or RNG.

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Making Sense Of The Timeline

Originally, phase 1 for The Rose resort planned to have 1,150 HHR machines, 155 hotel rooms, a seven-acre public park, and 2,541 parking spaces. Phase 2 would add up to 150 additional hotel rooms for a total of 305. A 40,000-square-foot event center would also be included in phase 2 of the resort.

Before Churchill Downs was involved in the project, Colonial Downs Group planned to open the gaming floor in October 2023 and the hotel in January 2024. Churchill Downs Senior VP Ryan Jordan explained to the town council why The Rose did not open on time.

“The main result of that delay had to do with the complex construction of various retaining walls to create the roadway which leads you from Main Street all the way up and around the lands,” Jordan said.

Without the gaming resort open, the town was unable to gain tax revenue. To contribute to the shortfall in tax revenue, Churchill Downs made a financial offer to the Town of Dumfries and increased the number of HHR machines in the facility.

“People that are coming to the property, we don’t want them to have to wait around,” Jordan said. “If they want to play a game, we want to have a game for them to play.”

As the result of Tuesday’s Special Meeting with the town council, Churchill Downs now has a new plan for opening The Rose resort. Phase 1 will now see 1,650 HHR machines (instead of 1,150) and only 102 hotel rooms available when the resort opens. The rise in HHR machines will use a portion of the 16,500-square-foot event space originally planned. The event space will be cut down to 3,300 square feet. The public park remains unchanged in Phase 1.

Phase 2 will see the addition of another 150 HHR machines (for a total of 1,800) and plans for the 40,000-square-foot conference and event center. Churchill Downs will now contribute $3.6 million to the town due to budget shortfalls from the delayed opening.

Plans now call for the facility to be open by July 31.

“And if we don’t [open by July 31], we’ll contribute an additional $400,000 per month to the town until we open,” Jordan said. Churchill Downs is also donating $2 million to fund the design and construction of a new community center in Dumfries. 

Once The Rose is open, all non-tipped jobs will pay at least $15 an hour.

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Expansion For Rosie's Gaming Footprint

The Rose gaming resort in Dumfries will be a major expansion to the Churchill Downs and Colonial Downs footprint beyond their existing seven Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums locations in New Kent, Collinsville, Dumfries, Emporia, Hampton, Richmond, and Vinton.

Combined, Rosie’s seven gaming emporiums operate 2,790 HHR machines, according to the latest Virginia Historical Horse Racing Commission Report dated December 2023. Before paying out winnings, taxes, and other deductions, these machines handled over $383 million in bets in December, raking in an estimated $137,385.05 per device.

Since opening in Virginia just five years ago, Rosie’s and Colonial Downs have invested more than $400 million in the commonwealth; created over 1,200 new jobs; and now contribute $54 million a year in state and local tax revenue. It is estimated that The Rose resort will generate over $6 million annually in new tax revenues for the Town of Dumfries while creating over 400 new jobs.

The new resort will be up against tough competition for guests being only a 30-minute drive from MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. The seven-year-old facility operates 2,265 slot machines and 207 table games.

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Keith Stein is a Virginia-based writer for BetVirginia.com who covers sports betting and casinos.

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