The Colonial Downs Group is opening a new Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Dumfries on January 8. The new location will offer simulcast horse racing and betting, as well as 150 historical horse racing machines. The machines use historical horse race data to offer a slots-style gaming experience to patrons.
Spokesman Mark Hubbard told The Virginia Star that due to COVID-19 spacing requirements, only 94 of the machines will be open at any time. He said that despite the pandemic harming hospitality and entertainment sectors, now is still a good time to open a new Rosie’s location.
“The timing is great because people are starving for something to do as long as it’s safe,” Hubbard said. “I think as vaccines get distributed, across Virginia and other states, normalcy is going to be returning in 2021, especially as we get into the spring and summer.”
Hubbard said, “A lot of people have been socking away some savings, and there are some checks coming out from the government, and they want to go out and have some fun.”
Rosie’s Dumfries will employ over 1,000 employees, generating $28 million in salaries, wages, and tips, according to a recent announcement. The Dumfries location is the fifth for the Colonial Downs Group, and matches the smaller size of the Vinton location outside Roanoke.
The announcement comes as locations across Virginia prepare to construct casinos. Both the casinos and Colonial Downs’ growth are part of a push since 2018 from the General Assembly to expand gaming in Virginia, and horse-racing-dependent locations like Rosie’s are central to the plan.
“The Virginia General Assembly, with a desire to revitalize the horse racing industry, agreed to have the Colonial Downs Group reopen the Colonial Downs racetrack in New Kent County, which was a phenomenal thoroughbred racecourse,” Hubbard said. “In order to generate some of the revenues to support that racetrack, the General Assembly allowed for historical horse racing gaming, which is the slot machines that we have been discussing, and the General Assembly permitted Colonial Downs Group and Rosie’s to open the four existing locations and the new one that’s going to be opening in Dumfries.”
Hubbard said that Dumfries may expand, but Rosie’s wants to demonstrate its qualities as a community partner first. “We have the ability to bring a lot more games to Northern Virginia, but we would have to go back to the town council in Dumfries for permission to do that.” Hubbard said, “Once they get a sense of the kind of community partner we are, there will be an appetite for us to potentially grow into the future.”
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