Historical horse racing machines could find another home in Virginia if voters in Emporia are interested in Rosie’s Gaming Emporium coming to town.
Emporia has Interstate 95 running through it and is off of Route 58, which stretches across the bottom part of Virginia slightly north of the North Carolina state line. It is a high-traffic area.
Colonial Downs Group, which operates Rosie’s locations in Vinton, Hampton, Dumfries and Richmond, is interested in bringing a $20 million gaming and restaurant space to town in the next year, according to a news release posted by the city.
“City staff has been in discussion with Rosie’s for the past 12 months. This is an excellent development not only for the City of Emporia but the entire Southside Virginia,” Emporia City Manager William E. Johnson III said in the release. “There are apparent benefits for Emporia: tax revenue, jobs, and entertainment for our citizens and visitors.”
Colonial Downs horse racetrack in New Kent County also hosts a Rosie’s, which specializes in HHR machines.
HHR terminals are like slot machines, where users can wager on previously run horse races. The payouts are similar to horse racing with parimutuel wagers.
Virginia’s General Assembly approved historical horse wagering in 2018. In localities without approved parimutuel betting, facilities must be approved by referendum.
The release from Emporia stated Colonial Downs Group is working to get approval for the facility on the ballot for the November election.
Facility Would Bring Jobs to Area
The facility would bring 100 jobs to the area, according to the release, with an average annual salary of $47,000.
There is already discussion of expanding the Dumfries venue in Northern Virginia to include a hotel and entertainment venue, transitioning the current gaming space to a workforce development center.
“We could not be more excited by this opportunity to bring a first-rate entertainment and gaming experience of Rosie’s to Emporia,” Aaron Gomes, Colonial Downs Group’s chief operating officer, said in the release.
“In the months ahead we look forward to sharing our positive story of job creation, economic development, tax revenue generation, and, equally importantly, fun, with the residents of Emporia. From Vinton to Hampton, we have helped spur economic growth that has lifted up communities all across Virginia. We would be honored to do the same in Emporia.”
Peninsula Pacific Entertainment is the parent company for Colonial Downs Group and Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums.