HAMPTON, Va. — Hampton city leaders are betting on a new off-track horse betting center to revive the city's Power Plant area and increase the city's tax revenue.
Monday, city leaders and Colonial Downs Group leaders celebrated the start of construction on the 40,000 square foot facility.
Rosie's Gaming Emporium will feature 700 Historical Horse Racing Games, live stream horse races from around the country and employ about 150 to 200 people.
Hampton City Councilwoman Linda Curtis said there are three clear-cut benefits for Hampton.
"Tax revenue, jobs and entertainment for our citizens and visitors," Curtis said.
Horse racing at Colonial Downs will return this August and the gaming center is projected to open in September.
“It’ll be the new thing, we’ll be the new kid on the block," Curtis said. "If there’s one in every city it’s not as exciting, but if we’re the first one up and running then I think we have an advantage."
Colonial Downs Group leaders said the betting center will generate $10 million in tax revenue annually, including $2 million annually for the city of Hampton. They also project 1 million people will visit Hampton each year to go to Rosie's.
A portion of the gambling proceeds will be added to the prize money for each race and help sustain the racing industry, according to Colonial Downs Groups Senior VP and General Manager John Marshall.
Curtis said the city council will look to reinvest millions of dollars in tax revenue into the school system and public safety improvements.