Colonial Downs Aiming For March 2019 Opening Of “Rosie’s Gaming Emporium”

The following piece appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch and was written by Graham Moomaw.

The new owners of Colonial Downs are hoping to open their casino-like gambling facility in New Kent County in March, with live horse racing expected to return in the fall of 2019.

Since buying the closed track in April, Chicago-based Revolutionary Racing and its partners have been building a management team and fixing up a track that had sat idle since 2014.

On Wednesday, company leaders hosted a media walkthrough of the Colonial Downs facility, showing renderings of the industrial-looking, red-themed interior that will emerge from the construction dust.

Chad Bartelson, VP of Construction & Facilities, and Larry Lucas, Colonial Downs Board member, attend a media tour at the New Kent track on September 5th. Photo by Daniel Sangib Min.

“We ran into the typical leaky roof. And some holes in the wall,” Marshall said. “Nothing overwhelming.”

The revamped facility will feature several restaurants, bars and a doughnut shop, Marshall said.

The track itself, Marshall said, is “race ready.”

Historical horse racing — a technology that uses past horse races to power slots-like machines expected to attract a wider gambling clientele — will be the most distinctive change from the old Colonial Downs. The machines will be installed on several floors of the revamped facility under the brand “Rosie’s gaming emporium.”

Colonial Downs plans to open its Richmond facility in a former Kmart building off Midlothian Turnpike in South Richmond.

The General Assembly approved the gambling-centric reopening of Colonial Downs earlier this year by passing legislation to authorize historical horse racing.

The Virginia Racing Commission, the state agency that oversees horse racing and associated gambling activities, is expected to finalize regulations on the new form of gambling within the next month.