Colonial Downs Group announced that Linda Edwards, Clerk of the Greensville County Circuit Court, certified she has received and accepted a request to circulate petitions to initiate a voter referendum to allow pari-mutuel wagering at a satellite facility in Emporia in accordance with the state code of Virginia. Former Emporia mayor Mary Person submitted the paperwork on behalf of Colonial Downs.
Per Virginia law, localities that have not already approved pari-mutuel wagering require a voter referendum before a pari-mutuel facility can be located in their community. To place a referendum on the ballot, signatures from at least 5% of qualified voters must be submitted to, and certified by, the General Registrar. The local Circuit Court will then officially decree that the referendum will appear on the ballot. With today's news, Colonial Downs Group will now coordinate an Emporia signature drive. Beginning when the city offices open, likely next week, registered voters in Emporia can sign the petition in the presence of a petition circulator during regular business hours at the Emporia City Administration offices at 201 S. Main Street.
Speaking about the beginning of the petition drive Aaron Gomes, Chief Operating Officer of Colonial Downs Group, noted, "Emporia is exactly the kind of up and coming Virginia locality in which we look to operate. We know we can bring well-paying jobs, and millions in new tax revenue to the city. We can also bring a lot of fun at the same time! Rosie's Gaming Emporiums have found tremendous success already in Richmond, Hampton, Vinton, Dumfries and New Kent County. We are true partners in those communities, and not only generate economic development but also give back to local causes and programs. We look forward to letting Emporia residents know more about our company, our facilities and all we can do to help make Emporia an even better place to call home in the years ahead. We deeply thank former Mayor Mary Person for her leadership in this effort, and can't wait to get started collecting signatures and sharing our positive story."
William Johnson, City Manager of Emporia, remarked, "This is an excellent opportunity for a great investment, and the creation of jobs and opportunities for our city. It will bring a much-needed new infusion of revenue to meet our city's needs. I fully encourage all Emporia registered voters to get involved in making this change happen!"
In addition, Mary Person, former Mayor of Emporia, and who, as noted, formally petitioned the court to begin the petition drive effort, commented, "I am excited to continue to be a part of the process to bring Rosie's Gaming Emporium to our City."
About Colonial Downs: Colonial Downs Group is a proud business operator in Virginia, employing more than 1,000 team members in the Commonwealth and paying over $30 million in annual salaries, wages, and benefits. Rosie's Gaming Emporiums(r) in Richmond, Hampton, New Kent, Vinton, and Dumfries offer innovative historic horseracing (HHR) gaming technology and full card simulcasting. Colonial Downs racetrack in New Kent County hosts live thoroughbred racing on two nationally renowned surfaces, including the Secretariat Turf Course, the widest turf course in North America at 180 feet wide and on a 1 1/4 mile dirt track, and second in length to only the world-famous Belmont Park. Colonial Downs Group has made a $300 million investment in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The company pays more than $32 million in annual state and local taxes plus an additional $12 million in racing industry payments annually.