Dreamstime

McElroy: Horse Racing is back at Colonial Downs. Yay! (But when is sports gambling happening?)

Horse racing and slot (like) machines will only last so long

Wes McElroy
April 23, 2019 - 9:59 am

Colonial Downs re-opens today.

After about a year since Virginia lawmakers gave the “yays” to legazlize things, the New Kent facility now featuring a casino-like facilty called Rosie’s Gaming Emporium will open its doors to the public.

 Live racing won’t begin until August. However Rosie’s will feature simulcast horse racing, a restaurant and bar, and 600 slot-like horse racing machines.

When I say “slot-like”, from what I understand these are horse racing machines, that look a lot slot machines, but (as I understand it) they work on archived past horse races.

There is about $300 million going into Colonial Downs from a Chicago-based company and there will also be off site facilities.

I’m excited that Colonial Downs is opening their doors. When I moved here, I loved going to live racing especially the Virginia Derby.  It used to be one of my favorite days of the year and I hope they bring back the event.

 I’m excited for live racing and am excited that whomever bought Colonial Downs understands that in 2019, they just can’t open their door and say “Come bet on the ponies.”

This is exciting news for now.

But Horse racing and slot-like machines will only carry a buzz for so long.

However, I think/hope if you invest $300 million dollars into something  you know what already?

Simulcasting for the horses will be nice a few in the 65+ crowd.  The slot machines or horse racing machines are a nice touch for extra fun, but once again you are appealing to a 60+ crowd.

Colonial Downs will need horse racing to compliment sports gambling.

It’s 2019 and post time every 20 minutes isnt going to suffice the masses long term.

Horse racing is an older demographic.  Colonial Downs needs to focus on getting younger.

They need to get the sports fans, the Saturday college crowd, the Sunday NFL crowd and the Saturday night UFC crowd as well as those looking to take the day off for March Madness.

 It needs to be "come bet on sports….. and also bet the ponies".

This is beyond their control for now, but, once again, I think/hope they know that with Virginia spending the next year looking at the sports gambling and studying how to do it, that there’s just too much money to be made off of legalized sports gambling.

There’s a lot of money in those hills (or in this case sports gambling). Here's to Colonial Downs/Rosies having the chance to find it in the (very) near future.