Churchill to acquire Colonial Downs

Colonial Downs
Off at Colonial Downs. Photo by Darrell Wood.

Churchill Downs, Inc. will acquire Colonial Downs and its half-dozen Rosie’s Gaming Emporium facilities as part of a deal that will see Churchill buy “substantially all” of the assets of Colonial’s parent company, Peninsula Pacific Entertainment LLC.

The nearly-$2.5 billion deal is expected to close by the end of 2022.

“This unique set of assets expands our geographic footprint and provides additional scale,” Bill Carstanjen, Chief Executive Officer of CDI, said in a release. “P2E has done an exceptional job developing and managing this collection of assets, which we are very excited to acquire and plan to strategically grow in the years ahead.”

Under the agreement, Churchill will acquire Colonial Downs and its six associated historical horse racing (HHR) facilities, each branded as “Rosie’s Gaming Emporium.” These facilities have a combined total of about 2,700 HHR machines.

An additional Rosie’s, slated to open in Emporia near the North Carolina border in 2023, will also come under the Churchill banner.

The deal will also give Churchill the right to develop as many as five additional HHR facilities with an additional 2,300 machines. Churchill will also acquire the right to build the gaming resort slated to be built near Dumfries, in Northern Virginia.

Churchill will also continue Peninsula Pacific’s collaborative effort, with Urban One, to obtain permission to build a destination casino in Richmond.

Other properties in the deal include del Lago Resort and Casino in Waterloo, NY, and the right to operate the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Sioux City, IA.

Colonial Downs enjoyed a banner racing year in 2021, with the track setting its all-time daily average handle mark. The track generated more than $2.2 million in daily average handle, topped by a record Virginia Derby day, when bettors pushed more than $4.8 million through the windows.

Last year was the third year of the new Colonial Downs, which was reborn in 2019 after a six-year hiatus.