Rosie's Gaming Emporium Celebrates Two Years in Virginia

Rosie's Gaming Emporium Celebrates Two Years in Virginia

Rosie's Gaming Emporium is celebrating its two-year anniversary this month with five locations open and operating with plans in motion for at least three new additions.

Rosie’s, owned and operated by the horse racetrack Colonial Downs in New Kent, Virginia, opened its first four locations in Richmond, Hampton, New Kent and Vinton in quick succession in 2019. The openings came after the Virginia General Assembly passed a law in 2018, allowing pari-mutuel betting as part of a deal to revive live horse racing in Virginia.

Colonial Downs Group and its five Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums are estimated to generate over $32 million in state and local taxes annually and create upwards of 1,000 jobs statewide with an annual payroll of more than $30 million.

All five Rosie’s locations in Virginia will celebrate the company's anniversary on Friday.

“This is our way of saying thank you to our loyal fans and players,” Aaron Gomes, chief operating officer at Colonial Downs Group, said in a news release. “With five locations, Richmond, Hampton, Vinton, New Kent & Dumfries, we have become a real part of the fabric of Virginia and we look forward to many more years of fun, safe and successful operations.”

Rosie's will offer player rewards and discounts to celebrate the anniversary. Prizes and rewards offered include 25 lucky players winning free play for a full year and $90,000 in donations on R’Day to the local communities.

The celebration will recognize milestones Rosie’s has achieved in its two years of operations that include more than $150 million in jackpots paid to date, more than 1,000 team members hired and revitalized thoroughbred horse racing in Virginia with average daily purses of $500,000, the release said. Contributions have been made through Rosie’s Gives Back of more than $1.3 million in cash and in-kind contributions, and team members have contributed more than 1,100 service hours.

Rosie's Gaming venues and racetrack provide the same feel and atmosphere as a traditional casino, with a twist. The company manages an estimated 2,300 Historical Horse Racing (HHR) machines throughout Virginia that look, feel and play just like traditional slot machines. But they are HHR machines.

The only difference is your wins or losses are based on random historical horse racing records. You can still win big jackpots and prizes just like winning the lottery or hitting at a traditional slot machine.

In January 2021, a resident from the Newport News area hit the highest HHR jackpot in U.S history at the Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Hampton. The jackpot, totaling $914,530.90, was hit playing a “Big Ea$y Money” machine.

Coronavirus Impact

With the coronavirus pandemic starting in March 2020, the safety of the Rosie's team and customers became a concern as COVID-19 continued to elevate across the nation. Colonial Downs Group decided to close all Rosie's locations on March 30 due to COVID-19 concerns. After months of following stay-in-place shelter directives, Rosie’s re-opened for business on July 1.

New Additions

Rosie's has seen the addition of new locations and upgrades at existing venues. At an outdoor ribbon cutting ceremony in January, Colonial Downs Group announced the opening of a Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Dumfries. The facility features 150 HHR gaming machines, simulcast horse racing, a restaurant and bar. The opening of this Rosie’s is the company’s first step into Northern Virginia.

In February, Colonial Downs presented a proposal to the Town of Dumfires to build a $389 million hotel and casino on the Potomac Landfill. The project calls for the construction of a 200-room hotel with eight restaurants and a 50,000-square-foot casino. The casino floor will host 1,800 HHR machines. Plans call for the facility to open in January 2023.

Emporia Next?

Colonial Downs this month announced plans to look at Emporia as a location for a future Rosie's facility. The clerk of the Greensville County Circuit Court received and accepted a request to circulate petitions to initiate a voter referendum to allow pari-mutuel wagering at a Rosie's facility in Emporia.

Former Emporia Mayor Mary Person submitted the paperwork on behalf of Colonial Downs. 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.

“This is an excellent opportunity for a great investment, and the creation of jobs and opportunities for our city. It will bring a much-needed new infusion of revenue to meet our city’s needs. I fully encourage all Emporia registered voters to get involved in making this change happen,” Emporia city manager William Johnson said.

Christiansburg Facility Possible?

Officials in Christiansburg mentioned recently that Rosie’s Gaming Emporium was exploring the possibility of opening a facility in their town. The potential plans came up during a town meeting in March 2021, according to an article in the Roanoke Times. As with Emporia, a referendum would be required for a Rosie’s site in Christiansburg.

Rosie's told town officials they envision employing about 100 people and providing a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Town officials suggested revenue from Rosie's could go toward the cost of building a $18 million multi-purpose park in the town that was approved a few months ago.



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

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