Colonial Downs officials have told town officials that the facility could generate approximately $190,000 in tax revenue, create 50 jobs and make a economic impact of over $1.3 million per year. Vinton's annual budget is $5.3 million.
At the monthly Virginia Racing Commission meeting Wednesday, officials of Colonial Downs estimated that the facility would generate annually between $30 to $35 million in handle. Passing of the referendum generates purse money that would expand Colonial's live meet. Another wagering center is now under construction in the southern portion of the city of Richmond. The commission granted approval of what will be Richmond's second racing center July 12. Colonial officials hope to have the racing center open in mid-October prior to the Breeder's Cup. Commissioners also were pleased to hear the final reports of Colonial's summer meet made by commission staff and racing officials. Handle and attendance numbers were up in most categories with Virginia Derby Day setting a single-day handle record of $2,473,385. The average field size during Colonial's meet was 9.91, well above the national average of 8.3. With the soggy summer in Virginia and Colonial's objective to offer more variety of racing on the dirt, the percentage of turf races dropped from 91% in 2002 to 80% in 2003. "When all the stakeholders in the industry come together, we can accomplish great things," said Robin Williams who chairs the commission. The dirt track at Colonial Downs has been converted for the harness racing meet that begins October 3.