Churchill Downs Acquires Rosie’s, Colonial Downs P2E Properties
A well-known Kentucky brand will have a significant stake in Virginia as well. Churchill Downs Incorporated on Tuesday announced the addition of Colonial Downs Racetrack as an asset.
The track in New Kent, VA, is just part of a much larger acquisition of Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E).
The purchase adds six Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums and about 2,700 historical horse racing (HHR) machines to the Churchill Downs inventory:
- Collinsville (37 HHR machines)
- Dumfries (150)
- Hampton (700)
- New Kent (600)
- Richmond (700)
- and Vinton (500).
Plus, the acquiring company now has the option to develop up to five additional HHR entertainment parlors in Virginia. Current plans call for about 2,300 new HHRs in the state. Plus:
- Churchhill Downs can take over an expansion in Dumfries, VA, as well. The first phase will open in 2023. The parlor will have up to 1,800 HHR machines.
- A second project in Emporia, VA, has a 2023 target date as well. The parlor along 1-95 near the North Carolina border will have 150 machines.
Finally, P2E has a partnership with Urban One to develop ONE Casino + Resort. The $565 million destination casino in Richmond is just a concept for now. Churchill Downs will take over the P2E Urban One bid if developers can:
- Navigate Virginia General Assembly politics (Petersburg looms) and
- Get Richmond voters to reverse their decision in a failed 2021 casino referendum.
Beyond Virginia, the company added a Hard Rock Casino in northwest Iowa and the Del Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo, NY as P2E assets.
Its CEO, Bill Carstanjen, called the P2E purchase “a significant moment in the evolution of Churchill Downs.”
HHR Machines will be big for Churchill Downs
Virginia’s six HHR machine parlors took in just under $338 million in September from its 2,606 terminals. Customers bet close to $3 billion at the HHR machines over the first nine months of 2022.
The HHR bets are monitored by the Virginia Racing Commission. VRC members oversee HHR plays in addition to live horse races. But, an advisory group would like that to change. They think HHR plays are a better fit for the Virginia Lottery.
A great on-site post explains the HHR parlor experience in full detail here. The story suggests HHR machines are basically slot machines with a wink and a nod because casinos — and slots — are a new area of betting in Virginia.
Here’s a segment of the piece in case you don’t follow the Play Virginia link. It is worth your time:
Rather than pure chance determining your outcome, the machines rely on replays of thousands of horse races that have already been run. Players’ money is essentially pooled and uses the pari-mutuel wagering system that was used with the live race all those years ago.
Early HHR machines apparently looked like actual horse racing terminals, but as auto-play wagering options took over, they eventually evolved into the modern (and totally-not-a-slot-machine) look.
Parlors like Rosie’s have been operating HHR machines since 2019. It looks like Churchill Downs gets a piece of that now that it added P2E.