One of the key matters on the November ballot in Manassas Park, Virginia, revolves around the fate of pari-mutuel wagering. Should this form of pool betting receive approval, it would open the door for Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) to open a Rosie’s Gaming Emporium gambling facility in the Manassas Park Shopping Center situated on Centreville Road.
Currently, Rosie’s Gaming Emporium already has a location in Dumfries, which includes a restaurant and many slot-like machines. The proposed blueprint in Manassas Park entails securing a lease and transforming a furniture store. If approved, Rosie’s Gaming Emporium could open by mid-2024.
Similar to the amount of tax revenue generated in Dumfries, a spokesperson for Rosie’s Gaming Emporium said Manassas Park would benefit about $1 million in revenue and bring in around 120 jobs.
“We are optimistic,” Mark Hubbard of Rosie’s Gaming Emporium said, according to WUSA9. “Every other community we’ve been in has said after the fact that we delivered on our promises and they’re glad they brought us into the community.”
Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Dumfries
For his part, Councilman Michael Carrera, who helped lead a petition and garner close to 600 signatures, seemed confident most of the voters would approve pari-mutuel wagering.
“The immediate major benefit will be increased tax revenues that we have long needed that will assist with additional city services and that will provide the opportunity for much-needed property tax reduction for our residents,” the councilman said back in August.
Other council members are on board, citing lower real estate tax bills and more funding for police and firefighters. However, Mayor Jeanette Rishell and Vice Mayor Alanna Mensing are against the proposed plans.
In a statement, Mensing said: “I’m not sure that Churchill Downs is a good fit for our community. The concept, as it is being presented, is a sports bar with gaming machines.”
Furthermore, Rishell cited concerns about it not being a family-friendly or positive activity, and its potential negative influence on children. She pointed out that gambling can be seen as a predatory industry, especially for vulnerable young people susceptible to addictive behaviors.
Despite the potential revenue, Rishell argued that it would alter the community’s character. “I believe that we can achieve our financial goals by continuing recruitment efforts to bring in mainstream businesses,” she stated, according to the above-mentioned media.
In contrast, Hubbard said not only has gaming become popular across parts of Virginia, but CDI also plans to help the future of Manassas Park. “We’ve committed to a very large amount of money as an investment into the downtown revitalization if the voters bring us into Manassas Park,” he said.