Hundreds gather as casino-like gaming opens at Colonial Downs

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NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Colonial Downs is betting on something in addition to horses to bring in crowds.

Rosie’s Gaming Emporium opened Tuesday at the New Kent County race track, featuring the closest thing to a casino in Virginia. 

The revenue generated through the gaming machines will enable the return of horse racing in Virginia.

“I was really excited to come here,” said Ron Davis from Williamsburg.

Hundreds of people in line made their way indoors to test out the 600 casino style gaming machines, which enable players to wager on slot-style historical horse racing.

Senator Tommy Norment was there, and said this opening was a long time coming.

“Colonial Downs closed officially in 2014 and it has an enormous impact on the commonwealth of Virginia, and more importantly New Kent County,” Norment said. 

Senator Norment talked about the investment for Virginia.

“In economic terms, when this is fully built out in 2022, they’ll be employing almost 800 Virginians in their industry, which is incredible and also bring in about $26 million to the commonwealth of Virginia in state taxes but more importantly it’s going to bring in over $15 million to New Kent County, and that’s a significant impact,” said Norment.

Rosie’s is anticipated to help bring Colonial Downs back into the winner’s circle. Money generated on the machines will pay for the horse racing prize money.

The real horses are expected to start running again on August 8.

RELATED: Racing group buys Virginia’s Colonial Downs for over $20M

The Commonwealth can cash in as well. Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums are also opening in Richmond, Hampton and Vinton.

The $40 million Rosie’s venue in Hampton is slated to open in September. 

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