Posted on: May 24, 2022, 12:49h.
Last updated on: May 24, 2022, 01:01h.
The Rose Gaming Resort is a roughly $400 million undertaking being built in Northern Virginia in the small town of Dumfries.
The Colonial Downs Group project is one of the largest investments to ever come to Dumfries. But an even larger undertaking is possibly in the works nearby. ESPN reported this week that the NFL Washington Commanders football team has paid more than $100 million for approximately 200 acres of land in Prince William County, which is also home to Dumfries.
The NFL team’s land purchase is said to be in Woodbridge, less than 10 miles from where The Rose is being built along I-95. Though team reps have not publicly discussed the acreage acquisition, rumors are swirling that Woodbridge is where Commanders owner Dan Snyder wants to build the franchise’s future home.
The ESPN report did not single out the precise location of the property, but said it’s “right off an exit on I-95 in Woodbridge.”
Coming Up Roses
Virginia legalized Las Vegas-style casinos with slot machines, table games, and sports betting in 2020. But The Rose won’t be one such venue.
Virginia’s casino bill only allowed five economically struggling cities to consider a commercial casino. Dumfries did not qualify. Instead, Virginia’s 2018 legalization of historical horse racing (HHR) is fueling the $400 million development.
HHR terminals look, sound, and function like slot machines. But instead of using random number generators to determine when a spin wins, HHR machines utilize previously run horse races and associated pari-mutuel betting lines to determine outcomes.
Players typically pick a “quick bet” option that provides them with the favorite and shortest odds. The horses, track, date, and other key identifying information are concealed.
The Rose is being built on what was previously the Potomac Landfill. The resort is to feature a 305-room, six-story hotel, eight restaurants and bars, conference and meeting space, and a “casino” floor with 1,800 HHR terminals.
In 2018, the Colonial Downs Group, then a joint endeavor from Chicago-based Revolutionary Racing and Los Angeles-based Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E), convinced state lawmakers to legalize HHR. In exchange, the group agreed to reopen the Colonial Downs Racetrack in New Kent and return live racing.
Part of the state agreement with Colonial Downs Group additionally allowed the company to build off-track HHR parlors. Those satellite facilities are today known as Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums. Rosie’s has HHR locations in New Kent, Vinton, Richmond, Hampton, and Collinsville. A temporary Rosie’s in Dumfries has also opened.
P2E later bought out Revolutionary’s stake in the Colonial Downs Group for an undisclosed sum.
The Rose Gaming Resort is the Colonial Downs Group’s largest investment to date. The company is betting big on drawing premium players from DC and Northern Virginia’s affluent towns to Dumfries to gamble, dine, and relax.
An NFL stadium, of course, would be most welcomed among Colonial Downs officials. Bringing more than 60,000 fans on at least eight Sundays a year to within 10 miles of The Rose would naturally benefit the resort.
The NFL stadium prospects are a big win for Churchill Downs Inc., which agreed in February to acquire most P2E assets, including its ownership in the Colonial Downs Group, for almost $2.5 billion. Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said the acquisition largely has to do with the company’s belief that horse racing is set for a resurgence in the US.