Popular US Racetrack Due to Reopen
Vinton was once a busy betting parlor that operated in the town for almost 10 years before the locals decided to say goodbye to it via a close ballot referendum. Consequently, the Vinyard Road facility was shut down in 2014 along with the horse racing events following contract disputes between Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the former track owner.
After four years of hiatus, the track could now come back to life under the aegis of Chicago-based Revolutionary Racing. The $20 million acquisition could also bring four satellite facilities to life, including Vinton. The other three facilities will be in Richmond, Chesapeake, and Hampton. Chief Operating Officer of the Colonial Downs Group Aaron Gomes said that the company is happy for the support and warm welcome from the community. He also said that the group wants to be a good neighbor and educate everyone on the projects they have to offer.
The company hasn’t provided a timeline for the resurrection of the track but hopes to get it done by spring 2019, with off-track horse race betting resuming later in the year. The Vinton parlor will feature a full restaurant like before. The name and design of the restaurant could be changed. The track also plans to rebrand all satellite locations under the “Rosie’s” moniker.
Vinton will also feature historical horse racing, a new type of horse betting approved by Virginia recently. In this format, electronic terminals will let users bet on pre-recorded horse races. The devices will look like slot machines, but they will use a pooled betting system. The Colonial Downs sale was contingent upon the approval of this wagering as it was considered essential for generating revenue. The regulatory structure for the wagering is being set by the Virginia Racing Commission and will likely be in place before betting begins.
The outcome of this process will also determine the next steps by Colonia Downs. For instance, the horse racing industry is urging the commission to consider population figures to determine the number of historical horse racing machines in an area. Vinton’s local leaders expect to draw customers from as far back as West Virginia, and they insist on easing the restrictive caps on the number of betting machines placed in a region.