Posted on: February 16, 2021, 09:58h.
Last updated on: February 16, 2021, 10:20h.
The parent company to Rosie’s Gaming Emporium historical horse racing (HHR) parlors is pitching Dumfries, Va., a deal it seemingly cannot refuse — a $389 million development project.
This week, Colonial Downs, which owns the Colonial Downs Racetrack, as well as four off-track HHR gaming parlors throughout the state, presented the small town with a hotel and casino proposal. The targeted location is a 79-acre site that is currently a landfill.
The landfill has been an eyesore for this community,” said Dumfries Mayor Derrick Wood. “This is an opportunity to go to the community and say, not only is a developer going to get rid of the landfill, but we’re going to bring you something you can use, and your family can use.”
Colonial Downs wants to construct a 200-room hotel with eight restaurants and a 50,000-square-foot casino. The gaming floor would feature as many as 1,800 HHR machines.
The vast majority of the development would be public green space. Details are not yet finalized, but early schemes include numerous athletic fields, an outdoor amphitheater, and running and walking trails.
The landfill is a privately owned construction and debris dump. Its operating permit expires in 2032. Colonial did not reveal whether the landfill owners have agreed to sell the property.
2020 Casino Bill Amended HHR Laws
Virginia lawmakers and Gov. Ralph Northam (D) overhauled the state’s limited gaming industry last year by passing commercial casino legislation. The bill allowed voters in five economically distressed cities to determine whether they want to authorize a casino resort to help spur growth. Four did so last November through local ballot referendums.
As a concession to Colonial Downs, the casino bill allowed its Rosie’s Gaming Emporium locations to greatly increase the number of horse racing terminals each venue can offer. Rosie’s parlor in Dumfries was originally permitted 150 HHR terminals. The casino bill increased that number to 1,800 — 12 times the original allotment.
The increase in the number of gaming positions is reason for Colonial Downs wanting to increase its footprint in Dumfries. Though home to only 5,300 residents, Dumfries is in the greater Washington metropolitan area, and is less than 30 miles south of the nation’s capital.
It’s present Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Dumfries is located in a dated shopping plaza. Other tenants include a laundry mat, Dollar General, Papa John’s Pizza, and hookah lounge.
The landfill site is only 5,000 feet north of where Rosie’s is today in Dumfries. The dump is located just off I-95 at exit 152.
‘The Rose’ Project
Colonial Downs projects that the casino would create 640 new jobs with an average pay of $15 an hour. Nearly 100 managers would make an average of $70,000 a year.
Along with the Dumfries Town Council and Prince William County, the Virginia Department of Transportation needs to approve of the casino project. The Dumfries mayor is optimistic it will gain adequate support.
“It’s like when you dream of getting elected and you have a vision of something. This is part of what I never could have imagined for this town,” Wood stated.