Amherst County residents vote on fate of potential Rosie’s facility

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 4:28 PM EDT
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MADISON HEIGHTS, Va. (WDBJ) - This year, a referendum to allow pari-mutuel wagering made its way onto ballots in Amherst County.

The initial petition was filed on behalf of Rosie’s Gaming Emporium, a pari-mutuel wagering facility.

They want to plant a building at the Seminole Plaza in Madison Heights.

“We’re limited about how many licenses that we can use in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We’d like this this opportunity for Amherst to use one of these licenses to redevelop Seminole Shopping Plaza and bring economic development to their area,” said Ernie Dellaverson, Rosie’s regional general manager.

Dellaverson says a Rosie’s would benefit Amherst County.

He says it would bring jobs and tax revenue to the area.

“We’re hoping that they would use that money to incentivize other businesses to come to town,” said Dellaverson.

But not everyone is on board with the idea.

“If people become addicted to gambling and lose jobs, families fall apart, well then the taxpayers end up paying for their addiction and their family,” said Tobey Thurston, an organizer with Amherst Citizens Against Rosie’s.

Thurston says there are concerns over gambling addictions and an increase of crime.

She says other alternatives should be considered, like “an arcade or a family fun center... things that you don’t have to be 18 to get in, things that don’t bring an increase in crime.”

“None of that could be further from the truth,” said Dellaverson. “What I’ve said from the beginning - I’m 53, I’ve been in this business about 35 years in multiple jurisdictions. I haven’t seen [an increase in crime] yet.”

In September, the county’s board of supervisors passed a resolution supporting Rosie’s efforts.

Residents will ultimately decide Tuesday if pari-mutuel wagering - and ultimately Rosie’s - will be allowed in the county.

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