Colonial Downs will increase its minimum wage to $15 starting in January, the company announced on Thursday. Virginia’s minimum wage is $7.25.
The company will also raise its minimum wage for tipped positions to $9 an hour, according to a news release, compared to the state minimum wage for tipped positions which is $2.13.
“Our employees are the reason for our success and we know this,” said Aaron Gomes, chief operating officer for Colonial Downs Group. “Now, we are dedicated to ensuring that their hard work and commitment to our customers is rewarded, and that starts with their financial compensation.”
Colonial Downs has hired about 1,000 people since opening its first Rosie’s Gaming Emporium with 600 gaming machines in New Kent County in April. Since then, the company has opened locations in Richmond, Hampton, Vinton and has plans for a future locations in Dumfries and Danville.
According to company officials, Colonial Downs Group has invested $300 million across Virginia.
On Nov. 5, voters in Dumfries and Danville approved referendums asking for approval for new betting parlors, a requirement under state law.
Colonial Downs officials said their planned Dumfries location would hire 150 people and have 150 slot-like machines, a restaurant and live entertainment.
In Dumfries, voters cast 468 votes supporting a gambling venue in the town while 306 voters cast their ballot against the referendum. Of 2,724 registered voters in Dumfries, about 28.4% or 774 people cast a ballot in the voter referendum in November.
After the November referendum, company spokesman Mark Hubbard said the company plans to work with Dumfries officials to identify the best location for a Rosie’s Gaming Emporium and to deliver on their commitment to be a strong community partner.
While the company could build a Rosie’s Gaming Emporium from scratch, Dumfries also has existing shopping centers that could be converted to a Rosie's. Hubbard said converting a property would mean the company could open a Rosie’s sooner than building from scratch.
Hubbard said while the company is focused on locating a Rosie’s in Chesapeake, opening a site in Dumfries is on their priority list.
“Next steps in Danville will be determined by our discussions with city leaders there and what is best for the community long-term,” Hubbard said.
Company officials estimate Dumfries could receive about $640,000 in annual local gaming taxes from the proposed Rosie’s in Dumfries, because the locality where a gaming facility is located receives 0.5% of all wagering that is made.
The town’s budget for fiscal year 2020, which began on July 1, is $4.9 million, according to the town’s budget. Rosie’s in Dumfries is not proposed to have live racing.
In 2018, the Virginia General Assembly approved the introduction of slot-like Historical Horse Racing machines, slot-like units for betting on pre-recorded races.