When Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Dumfries opens today, bettors will be able to wager as little as 20 cents using slot-like machines to win jackpots starting at $100,000.
Nate Mize, director of marketing for Rosie’s parent company, Colonial Downs Group, said customers will be able to choose from 94 machines with 20 different themes to bet on historic horse races, as well as wager on simulcast live horse races from across the country.
“The games are all progressive,” Mize said. “The games will be similar to horse racing, though, like pari-mutuel horse racing. The more you play, the more the jackpots will increase.”
Mize provided a demonstration of the games at Rosie’s during a media preview on Tuesday.
The Virginia General Assembly legalized betting on historic horse races in 2018, and Dumfries voters approved a local referendum for the gaming emporium in November 2019. Rosie’s has no gaming tables or traditional slot machines like casinos in Atlantic City or Las Vegas.
Instead, Rosie’s has betting machines that use an algorithm based on historical horse races. Mize said normal slot machines use a random number generator on the back end that dictates when the reels stop.
“There is a built-in library, and each one of these games has about 90,000 horse races recorded,” said Mize. “So, every time you hit spin... you’re betting on a horse race that took place in the past.”
Patrons who are unfamiliar with the machines can ask for assistance from one of Rosie’s staff. Bettors also have the option to handicap the horse race – letting the machine do the work – or to pick the order they think the horses will finish the race. Bettors can wager as little as 20 cents and up to $30.
“The only stats you see for the races are going to be the trainer rating, the post position percentage and the jockey percentage,” Mize said. “So we won't tell you when and where the race took place until after you place your bet.”
Mize noted that based on experience at other Rosie’s outlets, 99.99% of bettors just use the handicap and let the machine auto-pick for them.
Rosie’s is allowed 150 betting machines at the Dumfries location, but the general manager, Rick Casagrande, said the number has been reduced to ensure social distancing. There are spaces between slots where other machines would be, and some machines have been turned off to keep people from sitting close together.
“That is specifically a part of our extra care safety program to allow for proper social distancing,” he added.
At the door, patrons will be required to take a temperature check and answer questions about whether they have been exposed to the coronavirus or experienced symptoms. Customers will also be required to wear a protective face mask at all times inside the building.
Colonial Downs spokesman Mark Hubbard said Rosie’s has been following CDC and state guidelines and will limit capacity at the Dumfries venue to 135 people, including staff. The normal full capacity for the site would be 400.
Casagrande said Rosie’s has hired over 100 full-time and part-time employees. On a typical shift, there will be about 25 staff on duty, including floor and kitchen staff.
For those who don’t want to gamble, Casagrande noted that the kitchen and bar are open to the public.
Rosie’s is operated by the Colonial Downs Group, and a portion of the proceeds are used to benefit the horse-racing industry in Virginia.
Casagrande also noted that the company encourages staff to volunteer time in the community and donates to local charities, such as the Boys and Girls Club. “One of the reasons why I chose to join this company is how community-centric that company is.”