Colonial Downs Racetrack

Colonial Downs hiring for 100-plus jobs in Vinton

By Alicia Petska [email protected] 981-3319 Mar 17, 2019

Colonial Downs is gearing up to make its return to the Roanoke Valley next month.

The horse track, which is under new ownership and reviving its network of sites, is looking to fill 125 jobs before its grand re-opening of such a satellite site in Vinton.

An initial job fair held last week netted a small batch of applicants and 12 hires so far. Interviewing continues but the betting parlor and restaurant is working to ramp up recruitment.

The target date for reopening its doors is late April.

Thoroughbred horse racing is returning to Virginia for the first time since 2014, when the Colonial Downs track in New Kent County closed amid a contract dispute with the state horsemen’s association.

The track’s new ownership, operating as the Colonial Downs Group, is scheduled to resume racing in August.

In the runup to that, it’s moving to resurrect its betting parlors in five locations: New Kent County, Vinton, Richmond, Hampton and Chesapeake.

Vinton’s will be among the first to open alongside the flagship destination in New Kent. The town was previously home to a Colonial Downs site for about a decade after voters authorized a betting parlor in a 2003 referendum.

The new facility will occupy the same site on Vinyard Road but will feature an entirely new look and a new name: Rosie’s Gaming Emporium.

“It’s going to be lively and fun. When you walk in, you’ll see a beautiful layout,” said General Manager Ernie Dellaverson.

Rosie’s will feature a 34-seat restaurant and bar as well as a gift shop. Live racing with simulcast wagering will be broadcast daily.

It will also offer a form of horse betting new to Virginia. As part of the track’s revival, the state signed off on the use of electronic terminals, similar in look to slots, that allow users to bet on an archive of pre-recorded races.

The Vinton Rosie’s, in keeping with a cap based on population, will include 150 of the historical horse racing machines.

Renovation work on the 15,200-square-foot facility in Vinton is progressing, Dellaverson said, and the project is tracking to meet its April opening goal.

A chief priority now is to fill the remaining staff positions.

The operation is hiring for everything from restaurant staff to gaming attendants to security officers to facilities workers.

The starting pay scales range from $8 per hour plus tips for servers and bartenders to $16 per hour for gaming technicians.

The bulk of the jobs are full time and come with full medical coverage, free dental and vision insurance, and a 401(k) match.

Applications can be filled out in person at the Vinton Rosie’s temporary offices located at 805 Hardy Road Suite 2 or online by visiting www.colonialdowns.com/careers.

Job fairs are also scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m. March 21 at the Virginia Employment Commission offices in Roanoke and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 23 at the Vinton Rosie’s temporary offices.

Once opened, Rosie’s plans to run seven days a week and anticipates attracting customers from well beyond the Roanoke Valley.

The Colonial Downs Group estimates the business will generate as much as $500,000 in annual local taxes.

Dellaverson, who just moved up from Florida to run the Vinton site, said he’s received a heartening welcome from the community since starting work this month.

“The people in town seem so happy to see this rejuvenation of the old Colonial Downs site and see it turned into Rosie’s Gaming Emporium,” he said.

Dellaverson, 50, has a long history in the gaming industry, starting out as a teen with a summer job as a parking valet in Atlantic City and working his way into management. He last worked as the assistant general manager for Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

Dellaverson, who grew up in western Pennsylvania, said returning to a mountainside community brought him back to his youth.

“I’m looking at a mountain right now, and it feels just like I’m back at home,” he said. “I love it.”

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