Virginia could soon see horse racing terminals legalized in the state. These would be available at Colonial Downs, a race track that is currently closed. Late last week, the Virginia Senate voted to pass House Bill 1609. The bill was passed 31-9 and will allow horse racing terminals in the states only horse race track.
Virginia has passed a bill to allow historic horse racing terminals at Colonial Downs when it reopens. The governor still needs to approve the bill though.
Virginia Gets First Gambling Expansion in Years
The bill will now be passed on to the governor, who will sign the bill into law or reject it. Governor Ralph Northam took office at the beginning of the year and is yet to reveal his position on gambling. The horse terminals in question allow players to place parimutuel bets on the outcome of historical races. The races displayed on the games block out the horse’s names, track names, jockey, trainer, and the date of the race. The only information provided is a skill-graph. This graph shows the winning percentages of the horse, jockey, and trainer.
Colonial Downs is the only racetrack in Virginia, but it has been closed since 2014. A Chicago-based company agreed to purchase the venue and reopen it. However, one of the company’s conditions was that the historical horse racing terminals are allowed. State lawmakers have agreed to this condition and allowed for the first gambling expansion in decades. Virginia does not currently have any casinos, tribal or commercial, and is one of only 11 states with no casinos.
Virginia Legalizing Slot Machines?
Not everyone is happy about this though. There are many who are claiming that the Virginia Senate just legalized slot machines. Critics of the move have stated that, in their opinions, these historic terminals are nothing but cleverly disguised slots. Players can even have the game automatically choose the horse for the player.
Virginia has opposed most forms of gambling for quite some time, with the exception being the state lottery. Proponents of allowing these games say that it will provide the area with an economic boost and allowing them is crucial to reopening the track. The company purchasing Colonial Downs is predicting that these machines will generate $350 million a year, help to create 1400 jobs, and provide the state of Virginia with over $40 million in taxes.